A blog about living outside, first in my car, then in tents.
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Ranchers Not the Problem: Public Lands Management Is

Now that I’ve been better educated about ranching in a recent educational conversation with a management-track cowboy and a woman equally informed about ranching, I am going to venture some conclusions about cow pies, cattle and public lands management. Here are highlights of the points made by the man and woman with whom I spoke the weekend before last: When I stated my willingness to be educated about ranching, I noted that I like my grass-fed beef as much as the next steak lover. The cowboy informed me that the cattle on the ranges are not the cattle that get butchered for food. They’re the breeders. The calves become the food; adult cows make...
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Confirmed: Cows ARE Everywhere

Last night a young man employed by a large local ranch and a woman equally informed about ranching gave me a good education about cattle and land management. First, my impressions are correct: Right now cows are everywhere. In fact, the young man works for the ranch that is running cattle through the area in which I’m currently camping. They’ve just gotten started, he says. There are many more cows to come. So, I asked, trying to find a place to camp on public land that has no cows is impossible right now? Yes, he said, at least within cell phone range. (I need cell phone reception in order to continue working. Plus it’s...
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Displaced by Cattle AGAIN

Cattle are EVERYWHERE. I saw them in the area (i.e. between cattle guards) driving to the site two nights ago. The next morning about a dozen ambled by 50 feet from the car. I piled the tents and the outdoor rugs I use for dog beds on top of the army cot someone gave me. “Cows will walk over everything,” someone pointed out recently. Last night, after the heavy rain that left both dogs wet and me curled up around Carlos’ seat, I opened the door to let Carlos out and he immediately barked. I swore, called him back in and closed the door. A while later I opened it and Carlos exited without...
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Carlos Brings Home Fly Nectar

Take a look at the pic: Carlos’ hair is brown on the neck and chest, not the back. The brown wet crap on the back is just that: cow crap. The two dogs came back from a morning romp wet. It’s possible the “swimming hole” they discovered is the cattle tank a while up the road. I wish Carlos had rolled in cow pies first and THEN swum. I made the mistake of rinsing him right next to the car — i.e. this campsite’s best parking spot. Liquified cow shit sank into the soil, creating a spa for the flies that woke me up every day since. Contrary to previous inclinations, I have been...
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Failing to Find a Feasible Campsite, I Camp Amongst the Masses

I am more discouraged today than since I started living in my car. I no longer know where to look for camp sites that meet all my criteria: a) cell phone coverage b) a low frequency of fresh cow pies c) not near a horse trail so my dogs don’t harass the horses or interact with riders’ dogs d) level, and e) shade. I spent all afternoon looking east and north of my previous campsite, which is now covered in wildfire smoke. A horseback rider had told me that USFS land to the south had neither cattle nor horse trails, but I could neither open nor close the wire and stick fences on that...
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Smoke Relocation Unearths Cow Pies and Ashy Dirt; I Yell and Dance for “Bear”

Someone at the store suggested yesterday that I relocate to a canyon south of here and at a higher elevation. I wish I had thought of it when I drove into town Sunday night and saw the smoke layer covering much of the valley. Now it’s pack and unpack again — not that I have that much. On the drive up through the canyon we passed through one of the most beautiful hilly meadows I’ve ever seen. I stepped out of the car and was assaulted by flies. Cow pies. Everywhere. The rough dirt roads that climbed into various canyons branching off and adjacent to the main one were mostly empty of people, as...
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Here is the Moment I’ve Been Avoiding

2:00 pm 81 degrees in the shade. Oh my God. I’m homeless. Oh my God! I have no house to go to to cool down right now. I’m hot despite cowering in slivers of shade, I feel crappy, and I want to sleep. But it is TOO hot to sleep! Reviewing trees near the site, I put on gloves and pull off dead branches from a tree that has shade but also has low branches that must be removed for the car to fit. I back in. But I can’t get out of the door without pushing aside branches and stepping over old cow pies. I break off branches on a second tree and...
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Cow Pies

When I was staying with my friend, my last residence before the car, my dogs had a relatively small fenced yard, so I took them out running every day or two. I discovered a US Forest Service dirt road with plentiful side roads. Signs of old campfires and not-so-old parties were common. So my first night in the car I parked in a spot there. The next few nights I poked around the area, looking for spots that were private, where any partiers or others who drove by road wouldn’t see me. I found a few, including good shade. But what my dogs found was more problematic. Did you know our USFS lands are...
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