Home sweet home.

     All work and no play makes Ronjohn a dull boy. Aside from my weekend reprieves at shelf road, and my week long hiatus for thanksgiving in southern Utah, giving up my time for money has dominated my life. Time is in fact the most important and precious thing we have, yet how often we think nothing of giving it away. I can’t wait to have my time back. In an effort of foresight, I am trying to set myself up a space where I don’t have to worry about how much money is coming in, therefore freeing myself of this burden if giving my time away. For five days, my dad came and slept in uncomfortably cold conditions so that he could help me build a nice shed to live in.

     Knowing my dad as I do, I can also say that he had some joy in the creation of something. What is more enjoyable than taking a blank piece of land and erecting walls to hold the heat in, and windows to frame the mountains. It was nice to create with him, even though there were points of frustration, usually miscommunication. Since he’s been building or reworking a structure every couple of years ever since I can remember, my dad knows framing. Usually when we argued about how to do something, we were trying to say the same thing, but couldn’t communicate it. It’s funny sometimes the Father son dynamic. I had to convince him that my thirty-three years on this planet has bestowed on my some knowledge. In general, fathers expect that they will always know more than their kids, so it makes it hard for them to listen. We got better and better as a team each day, and once the stress of a bare plot of land was turning into the last few OSB panels on the roof, we were flawless communicators. I learned especially that Dad has to see things visually, while I like to imagine it in my head and describe it.

     Unfortunately, we ate at about a third of our meals at fast food restaurants, and another third were turkey or ham sandwiches. Both of these have the benefit of no preparation time, so we could continue working. Is that how the rest of society regularly operates? So maxed out in time that the easiest thing to do is go buy a few things on the dollar menu. The problem of cooking was compounded by the fact that my van ran out of propane on the first day. Though I knew it was coming soon, it was very inconvenient. Still, I was able to cook a few meals on my whisperlite camp stove, usually late breakfasts with potatoes or yams, and eggs. Oh how I can’t wait to do dishes in a sink, and not squatting!

     As far as the building is concerned, it is very tall. Disproportionately tall for its base. My dad had previously built a tiny home in Grand Junction, and I didn’t really want to use his previous specifications because the loft, to me, felt really crowded. My idea was to build a four foot wall on top of the first. And so we did. This extension, along with the barn style roof created such a high volume upper level that I had trouble going to sleep thinking, “I’m going to have to buy a ceiling fan to push all the heat that is going to get trapped up there.” Once we covered the roof however, the space seemed a little more reasonable. My goal was to store my 9’6” surf board suspended from the roof, which is certainly possible as it’s built. I may even have to use a step stool to slide it into place, which is good, because it will still be well overhead when I’m standing in the loft.

     It’s getting colder now, and I still have to lay the shingles when I  get back. I had to drive my dad back to grand junction after he delivered me a trailer and van, so while I’m here I’m trying to give back to a few of his reparation projects; he is replacing single paned windows and siding on a rental property he has. Our ability to work together has only strengthened. As my granny Jo has recently passed away, I also find myself cherishing these moments with my dad, since in twenty years I’ll probably be losing my parents as life guides and friends. Time seems to move faster when your older due to each year being a proportionally smaller fraction of your life. This opposed to when you were five and a year was one fifth of your total existence. I can only hope that I make the most of it.




A little time with great friends, and starting to build a home

     The last few weeks were spent joyously with friends. What more in life can be asked for? I am starting new here at the property, and was very happy to be emotionally recharged with the strong friendships that I do have. Being a vagabond takes it’s toll. Always a new setting. Always surrounded by different people.

     My buddy Tyler, his wife Missy, and their four year old Winston were great to hang touch base with in Los Alamos. He works at the particle accelerator there, doing theoretical work (turning epiphanies into computer simulations) in order to see if they can’t get the old girl working a little more efficiently. Winston loved to play hockey in the street. Tyler and Missy are great parents, and I look forward to seeing their kin grow up to change the world. One more in the oven now! Congrats!

     I was summoned to a climbing family reunion in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Ralph, Jordan, and Kyle were great to be around again. Also, some friends that I haven’t seen for three or so years, since Ralph and I visited Joshua Tree National Park happened to be in town (Ralph’s doing). Discussion’s ranged from Shrodinger’s cat experiment to internet privacy; sex therapy falling somewhere in between. They are a fun intellectual group to be around.

     Jeremy, one of the best photographers I know, is also fast becoming a videographer. He is still pushing his own limits and growth, and it is amazing to see him traveling the world with such great photo documentation. He will be going to Peru in a few weeks to climb water ice five at elevations near twenty thousand feet. I got a chance to ski with him, my only ski this year, in the backcountry of Marble, CO. I am certainly not in shape after spending so much time on the beach in southern Texas, but was happy to push my body to the limit ascending some more vertical terrain, which the Texas coast lacked.

     I also got to hike a few days around Steamboat with my long time friend Erynn, who has ventured out into the unknown with me since the later years of high school: braving my navigation skills while I find backcountry huts, or testing out the theories of snow caves published in “Freedom of the Hills.” She is making her way up the healthcare ladder quickly, pursing her passion for helping people.

     This was meant to be a synopsis on my few weeks with good friends, but reminds me of how important community is. I am certainly lucky to have such great people in my life, though they are scattered to the winds. Most of my really close friends now live within a six hour drive of where I am now in Colorado. There are still the remnants of my time in the Navy, leaving traces of myself in Connecticut, and California. I’ll continue to be inspired by all of these great souls, and look forward to all of the moments that we become reacquainted after lulls in sharing the present moment.

     Tomorrow I will be going out with the rafting company that I will likely be guiding for. We are headed down the Royal Gorge, a kind of pre-employment check out run. I went down the Arkansas, on a much easier section, with another group of guides already, and I am excited about getting on the river consistently. As far as making money goes, it is not bad to be continuously paddling downriver: just going with the flow. The pay leaves a little bit to be desired, but you do get to chat it up with a lot of folks. As an introvert that just “turns it on” every once in a while, I hope I can influence a lot of people in a positive way.

     I am also in the planning and preparation stage of building my own little shanty. As of now the plan is for a twenty-five foot diameter cordwood structure, with a loft. Still pondering octagonal or round. Where I may lack money, I have the ability to move heavy things around. I live on a hill scattered with iron rich magnetite. I have accumulated a pile which will eventually be shaped into a mortared platform for a cast iron stove, or perhaps a chimney. This is my first time stacking rocks with mortar, and should be a fun learning experience.

     Here is to another new horizon. 

     I would have photos but I think my camera chord is in Salida. Oh well.