The CRV, running good, the first extra day off, overdue for the "Tour". Wake, coffee, then set off for the Hospital Auxiliary in Rossland. Stop at the "Alpine Grind", cafe that does the theme well, notes on artist (to follow), then off at 9:45 to the thrift shop. It opens at 10:00. 

There's a line, more a throng, really of people socializing outside, perhaps 10 but it swells to about 20 before the doors open, they all know one another, talking, catching up on the news....

Once in I prowl about, it's been a while, I find 2 good shirts, a half dozen vintage (1950's super-thin poly) neckties, a couple of CD's (Sarah McLaughlin, Miles Davis, the CRV came with a Fleetwood Mac CD, usually, if I'm in range of Kootenay Coop I'd prefer to leave the DJing  to someone else, their music takes you all over the star map, I cannot speak highly enough of them, find a gym bag ("fitness" a necessary prerequisite to using the shower at the gym.). A stapler for work, and then I'm done. There's abundant mixed-media inspiration, and clothes out of season, toques, mittens, jackets, but now is not the time...

...from here to the Salvation Army in Trail, where I find a good sweater to replace the one I'm wearing (merely dirty is all), to the Charity Shops in Castlegar where I get Robert Johnson's greatest hits CD (this CD Player, it's great, I mean, CD's are 10 Cents and top out at 50 Cents...), another shop where I find a pair of fine leather loafers to replace my badly weathered and smelly mountain shoes....old shoes, back seat, new shoes, very comfy. 

And this is the tour...It's been too long, and freedom feels good.

(a matryoshka doll collection, silent auction, thrift shop Castlegar) 

The days are scintillating and bright on the lake, warm-ish in the sun but still a month or so from spring.

Bright blue skies and freezing nights, every night now a different location, place to sleep and wake every morning in a different location along the lake, this - the taste of freedom, of the Valley, morning coffee in Kaslo, Nelson, Balfour, on mornings I don't open as far away as Rossland, and just because, just because I can.

Today, unpacking garbage at the thrift shop, a whole selection of Tarot decks, "Healing Angels", "Healing Dolphins", a "homeopathic" remedy kit, the money people will spend to avoid a trip to the doctor, and - are they all here because she got better, or ????. What kills me is how many of these are written by "Doctors" - eg: "Doreen Virtue Ph.D." - the "credentials" apparently make for a better Tarot Deck (I doubt this, I'm rather convinced they make for a worse doctor...). 

Anyways, from there to pack up the couch, joyous relief to the friend who gave me shelter, trying to look a bit sad, but, really, it's been too long and well overdue. I've gathered far too many "mixed media" supplies, which are all taken and packed into the locker, toiletries, prospecting supplies, clothes (too fucking many clothes!!!!) into the car, and I'm ready to begin another season. I need to find a place for my clothes, another locker even, this is ridiculous, far, far too much baggage for an adventurer such as myself. Far more than I could carry down the mountain, which is what counts anyways. But solutions will shortly present themselves, I'm sure. 

Mission #1, working, Mission #2, find a car. Recruit Chris to drive me to Kaslo, where rumour has it there's a 4X4 for $750.00.

Chat to the guy, it needs brakes, has a bent suspension rod, needs a windshield, battery. Small things, all in all, so if that's it then for $1000 I'm off and to the races.

We get there, it's in "upper Kaslo", which sounds posh - lots of beautiful, big old houses, perfectly preserved from the day when everyone had a 5 bedroom gingerbread mansion with gables and large porches and verandas...

It's quite pretty, really, spectacular even.

But ... it's in "Lower Upper Kaslo" which is the area where somewhere in the 80's or 90's people began building houses on the edges of the stately historical properties, and then began filling their yards with cars and parts cars and more parts cars...

It's nuts, really. Poor people in their vulgar shacks with their assortment of junk cars, snowmobiles, boats, motorcycles, all of which are without plates and in various states of dismantling...

This vehicle, we get out to look at it. Rusted through and through, but I don't particularly give a damn about appearances. The windshield is indeed smashed, we take it for a test drive. It needs a boost to get started. It's got lots of power, but the brakes are completely gone. Meaning that even if I had a plate there would be no driving it to Balfour, slow as we're going around the neighborhood I can't feel the shoe. And it's pulling hard to the right.

We park and give it a good look over, Chris is hum-ho - he's got a similar, lower end model, but his is in mint condition. This is not in mint condition. 

Adding up the damage, $3, $4,000 to get it drivable, another month off the road, and then what? I'm trying to talk myself into it, but the abundance of "Shambala" stickers on the back of it are the final straw, I've seen, know the Shambala crowd and it's pretty unlikely they've ever maintained a vehicle in their life. 

His price is dropping, $500? $400? He'll tow it to Balfour for me....

We'll think about it. 

And, driving around Lower Upper Kaslo we see half a dozen better cars, some of which appear to be in great condition, all without plates, parked in the forest.

I wonder, how to make an offer on these?


These trips, they're expensive, having to pay Chris's time, gas, buy him lunch. $120 per failed vehicle attempt could mean I'm out of the vehicle market real quick.


Today, Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, find another few vehicles. There's a serial killer styled van in good working order, Creston, $2000. Might be good, a little more room for living. But I'm kind of stuck on the four wheel drive. There's a Jeep, great condition, uphill, $5300, another one in Trail, good condition, $4200, there's a little TJ for $4500, good for the 4WD but no space for stretching out whatsoever....

And there's an old '98 Jaguar, $6500 OBO - great condition, and not at all a prospector sort of vehicle but maybe I should start driving around in something a little more befitting my station...

A Honda CRV, Thrums, $2500 - Thrums, and this is what I'm going to look at today. Having checked my bank account even this is stretching things - but - I don't want to be sleeping rough in parks anymore. Out of town is fine. My preference for Jeep is going to be swayed by finance and the likelihood that Honda probably makes a better vehicle. I'm going to be sensible for a change. 

Fingers crossed.


And, a few hours later and I'm once again a free man. The rest of the day spent getting plates, registration, with nary a penny spare. Now some measure of freedom, to be offset by what I estimate to be approximately 2-3 months to shake the winter's debt.

Image: Osama Bin Laden

In which I write everyone's favorite advice columnist.

OK. I've been on a few internet dates. I confess this with the same reluctance I would admitting to masturbating, adultery, or excessive drinking and drug use. 

This is a list of some of my best -- AND WORST -- dates ever. Note that you gotta go on a lotta dates to get this kinda list, this kinda discouraged. And my online dating thing has been sporadic - an every few years kind of thing at best. Some of these dates go back 10 years, others are a little more recent. And to answer any people who might argue "It beats hooking up at the bar", well, you don't have to hook up at the bar, and at the bar you can see what your getting...

Anyways - apologies to the countless normal, decent dates that I went on but just didn't hit it off with. Memory is selective, it tends towards the extreme, and in this you will find the extremes...