Day 069 – Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and MUD, Lots and Lots of Mud and Rocks

Written 6 August 2021

Today is mostly a visual tour. No energy to write with much “meaning”, and a very interesting day for travels.

Moving left to right, we were asleep (night time) through most of Nevada. Going through Grand Junction brought back memories of a crush I had on a girl from there when I was in college. sigh…

The mud slides described below occurred around Glenwood Springs, just past Grand Junction.

We woke up Fri morning well into Utah so I (unfortunately) missed photos of the Great Salt Lake.. We were already a couple of hours late because of freight trains ahead of us.

The images below are in rough order of what we travelled through on Friday.

We were warned that mud slides in Colorado may force the train to stop and we’d be given “alternate transportation” to Chicago (busses -blargh!). Spoiler alert – we didn’t have to stop. but it was close. It is hard to give a perspective on the damage and debris from the slide that occurred on July 28 (I think), but if you’re interested, there is a good writeup with images at

Small towns always marked with retro-feeling signs at the train stops – like this one for American Fork, Utah.
We pass through many small towns – like this one in Helper, Utah.
A typical view of the river enroute. Camping out and boating on the river in inflatables in a very popular local outing. We saw dozens of similar setups along the way. Turns out there is apparently a local custom – look carefully at the guy in the photo close to the river “mooning” the train!
Now aren’t you glad I pointed that out to you? LOL.
Farmland under low hills in Utah, gave way to …
High desert scrub desert, then to …
Desert with no scrub brush. Also the next video.
Miles, and miles — and miles.
Small town in spectacular scenery. Somewhere in Colorado or Eastern Utah.
Entering Glenwood Springs – people waiting for the train westbound. Note the Amish (or Mennonite?), or “old school” Morman attire of the people on the right. Sorry, I don’t know for sure.
Entering the canyon – rock walls were about 1 meter from the train!
A view in Glenwood Springs Canyon just prior to the mud slides. Note the two level highway on the left. That I-70 – Eastbound top level, Westbound bottom level, and a bicycle track below that that went the entire distance. Both top and bottoms are 2 lanes.
One of the areas of mud slide. You can make out the two lanes of the freeway on the left side of the photo (bottom level through the trees), and see where the slide in this area covered both roads. The bicycle track can be seen at the bottom. Note the burned trees from previous wildfires – possibly a contributing cause for the mud slides by destabilizing the dirt.
Another slide area in video.
Wildfire damage.
This is looking straight up from my window – the top of the nearest rock peak is probably 100 meters high or more, and there are MUCH higher peaks behind that!
Video of the mountains just beside the train. We went VERY slowly so the engineers could ensure the track was clear. Fine by me!
Starting to come out of the mud slide area, but note the slide on the left covering the upper road and spilling onto the lower road.
The mudslides changed the course of the Colorado River. In this photo, the river literally covers the lower road.
Note the slide went below the upper level here (the vertical beam is the highway support), and completely covered the lower road. You can see bare traces of the bicycle path below the lower road.
After most of the damage. This is what the freeway normally looks like. Beautiful!
The Colorado River after leaving the canyon and before entering Denver.

About this point, I went to bed after dark, and slept through a stop on Denver.

Day 068_Actual Travel Begins!

Written: 5 August 2021

(it’s true most of this was written on 5 August on the train – but I could not get a signal strong/long enough to even insert the images, much less post the article. So – I’m actually posting this on 9 August. I’ll catch up on days 69 – 71 (today) before getting to current stuff.)

This morning my daughter got up HOURS early to provide transportation to the Train Station in Emeryville, CA. I’m making the first leg of travel with a very dear friend going back 45 years. Heavy traffic in the Oakland area (as usual), then to a totally unfamiliar procedure at the Amtrak Train Station, and we finally got on board! The next 2 ½ days we will take the California Zephyr train to Chicago!

This map shows day (red) and night (blue) sections of the route – We departed from Oakland (on the far left) and went to Chicago (In the middle – kind of the “hub”). The photos later of the woods were taken in the first red area of that route, California and Nevada.

The train is SOOOO relaxing! I have a “roomette” to myself, which has ample room for one, sufficient room for two, and the chairs fold out into a comfortable twin size bed.

My “roomette” – Plenty of room for one – workable for two. Marilyn and I each had separate roomettes right across the hall from each other.
Very comfortable bed made from the two seats stretched out.

I just sit and watch the world go by at a leisurely pace! Delightful. And soporific – I nap, and nap, and doze, and then get tired of dozing so I nap again. This first day I’m not “practiced” on photos and what might be interesting, so I’ll just post a few photos and images taken along the way. I sent a friend in Namibia some video with a little audio when I first got started, and his comment was “You sounded really tired!” And he’s right. Day 1 of this trip is trying to decompress.

Some views and video taken from Oakland to just entering Nevada (daytime, day 1 of this trip).

Home for the next three days.
You don’t realize how BIG these passenger trains are until you’re right next to them.
The hallway – my roomette is the second door on the left. This is all on the second floor (upper deck) of the car.
We are approaching the Sierra Nevadas – a mountain chain still in the California border.
Still in the Sierras, just before Nevada.
The dining car – don’t know the passengers but we met different people at every meal. We are now in Nevada.
I know, I know – give me some time and I’ll figure out how to edit out videos of my leg. LOL. We are maybe 20 minutes out of the station.
Forests typical of the Sierras. Miles and miles and miles.
More forests.

One thing strikes me immediately – the sheer size of the economy in this country as opposed to Namibia. When we go through towns, the STUFF I see – numbers of cars, campers, stores, junk, infrastructure, roads, buildings, businesses – etc. etc. etc. It is no wonder people from many countries see the USA as a land of opportunity. The poverty, homelessness and desperation that are present in almost every society are here also – but the riches and abundance tend to overwhelm them when viewed from the outside.

I’ve lived in Namibia for over six years and have experienced the very, very poor to the very, very rich and most things in between. I’ve not seen a single societal characteristic or behavior that I haven’t also seen in the USA. But the economy is so vast it can easily overwhelm being able to see the all-too-human aspects of the culture here.

Now I’m going to veg out and try to be ready to experience an entire day, tomorrow.

Please “Follow” this blog (upper right side of the screen) to get an email when I publish a new posting.


Day 052 – Boat interior FINISHED! Considering options.

19 July 2021

Whew! Thanks to my friend Tim – enormous thanks! – the interior of my boat is now empty, clean and in presentable condition. Photos below. The exterior needs to be power washed and it will look at LOT better, then.

“Inspiration” is 13 meters long (42 feet), sits 2 meters (6 ft 4 in) deep in the water (to the bottom of the keel), and weighs 11,566 kgs (25,500 pounds). I am 1.9 meters tall (6 ft 3 in) and can walk anywhere in the interior without bumping my head.

The interior is looking so nice I’m seriously considering keeping the boat, putting it back in the water, and using it as a second home for when I’m in the USA. The issue is money, of course. It is MUCH more expensive to keep a 2nd home, even a boat, in the USA than it is to keep a home in Namibia. I am still considering the options. I start travelling “for real” the first week in August, and will be in a better position to decide come the end of August or September. COVID is so bad in Namibia right now that I’m not in a hurry to return and, fortunately, have options. But I will go back home to Namibia at some point.

For those of you who have been wondering about this boat/home I talk about so much – the following will give you an idea of what “Inspiration” is like. It has been out of the water (as you see it here) for 6.5 years while I’ve been in Namibia. It needs a lot of work to the rigging before it could be ready for open ocean sailing again.

And the interior – before and after/now:

Finally, it’s a (poor) photo of the boat photograph above the nav station, but for the moment it’s the best picture I have of “Inspiration” under sail in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay – 1989.

Sorry about the poor quality – it’s a photo of a photo in bad light. Best I can do for now.

This was my home for 25 years, and may be again when I’m in the USA.

To get an email when I post something new, “FOLLOW” my blog (upper right of the right sidebar). No advertising or giving your email to anyone – only an email when I post something new.

Day 044 – Update and clarifying some things

11 July 2021 – Day 44

This is an update – minimal photos and clarifying some things.

I was a bit surprised to hear that “word is out” I have left Oranjemund for good. Not true. I am gone for a minimum of three months (through August, now probably September) and plan to be back to Namibia at some point. A friend is living at my house for the duration. Why would I leave permanently just as I was given Permanent Residence Status? Odd that I didn’t hear from anyone directly asking.

My goal for June and July is continuing to move forward. I’m attaching a few photos of my boat/home for the 25 years before I moved to Namibia in 2015. These are “Before/After25/Now” photos. By the end of July, I plan to have it listed for sale and then will have nothing in the USA that I own other than a few items of memorabilia in storage with a friend.

Before- When I bought the boat in 1989, it was named “Inspiration”.

After25 – “Inspiration” prepared to go into storage in April 2015 filled with literally everything I owned.

Now – as of 11 July. All the household goods stored on the inside are sold or otherwise disposed of. I’m still cleaning and prepping the interior, and the exterior will be cleaned before the end of next week most likely.

I’ve also been visiting friends and my daughter, and taking care of loads of stuff that can only be done here in the USA.

Starting the first week of August I depart this area and start travelling in earnest.

“Follow” my blog (get an email when I post something) on the top of the sidebar to the right. Enter your email address, and click on “Follow”. You can contact me by commenting on a blog, or by writing me at, or by Telegram or WhatsApp.

Day 030 – A little catch-up

27 June 2021 – Day 30

I have been back in the USA four weeks, today. And it has been a busy, tiring, emotional, relaxing, and very worth while month. I think I have been able to isolate one, possibly THE one, reason I don’t post more often. I feel like I need to write a complete history with all context bringing me to this point before I can say what I want to say. Those of you who have spent any time conversing with me will recognize this (unfortunate?) tendency. Seems overwhelming.

This last month has been largely about adjusting to my change in conditions with the overriding goal of getting all of my non-Namibian household goods out of my boat/home for the past 30 years and sold or otherwise disposed of. Yesterday was the target day – and it’s done! There was a Marine Flea Market at Napa Valley Marina in California (my boat’s dry land home for the past six+ years). My daughter, Lara, her mom, Dana, my friend Tim and Lara’s friend Quinn, all showed up at ungodly early hours and helped with the selling and displaying. It was a LOT of stuff! Naturally, taking a picture didn’t even occur to me until I was collapsing onto the bed after we all had a nice, late, lunch as a thank you to them, and I got back to my BnB “home” in Vallejo.

With the exception of one car full of minor stuff I’ll drop off at Dana’s house tomorrow, I now own almost nothing still in the USA other than my boat – and that will be taken care of in July. Lara and Dana, and Tim, took a LOT of stuff home most of which will be sold at a flea market in Sausalito by Lara and Dana but they wanted it that way because they can possibly make some money out of it. And I hope they do. It is no longer my issue.

Also on my agenda for June was taking care of my health. I’ve been the Veteran’s Administration hospital about eight times, mostly for routine checks but I also had cataract surgery on my right eye about 10 days ago. Things are going well, and I’ll have the left eye done in about 3 weeks. The VA is being absolutely fantastic! They want to get me all fixed up before I leave the USA again, wherever I go. So they are pushing the surgery scheduling to make sure I’m in good shape before leaving the area.

Speaking of schedules, as of now it looks like I’ll still take the California Zephyr (train) to Chicago the first week of August, then run around visiting friends in Wichita and Milwaukee for about 10 days. Then a high school friend with whom I have been in sporadic contact for the past 54 years will meet me in Chicago and we’re taking the Empire Builder (train) from Chicago to Seattle. I’ll bang around Seattle for a while, then go back to the San Francisco area to have my left eye surgery checked and take care of some other stuff, then depart SF again around 27 August to go back to the Northwest and either cross Canada W-E (train) if Canada will allow visitors by then (unlikely from my current viewpoint) or I may take a ferry to Alaska for a few weeks. I’m not sure what will come after that.

Friends in Namibia are being seriously, and directly, impacted by the COVID spike there. It’s really sad. I’m glad I’m not there at the moment, but wish I could be closer for my friends who are suffering. It is seriously not good in Namibia right now.

Trying to make sense of the world, and of humanity, is so challenging. Oddly I feel I’m reaching a place of peace with it all in spite of the disruptions, struggles, and tragedy. It all seems to be coalescing into some changes in how I’m approaching life that feel deeply like they are going to end up in a very positive space.

Rather than try to explain what I mean by that now – and be on the keyboard for hours – I’m going to post this, and (now that my household goods and major doctor’s appointments are dealt with) try to post more often.

For those of you who wants photos, here are a few. Fair warning, however, I have always tended to value personal experience more than photographs, so I’ll do what I can and try to be better and more visually interesting as time goes on!

My BnB in Vallejo from the street.
View from the parking lot at my BnB – about a two minute walk from my front door. Unfortunately not visible from my room.
Here is my boat/home “Inspiration” out of the water at the Marina. I lived aboard her for almost 30 years. It is 3-4 meters from the ground to the deck.
And my “stuff” inside the boat before we moved anything out. The big white pole in the middle is the mast.
The cafeteria at the VA Hospital – Golden Gate Bridge is out of sight to the right. This is looking North.
Or you can eat outdoors just outside of the cafeteria.
Dinner in San Francisco with my daughter and some friends.

Until next time!

If you want to be notified when I post again, “follow” my blog. No ads, just notices.