Become a Meander-thal!!

by | Aug 10, 2013 | 29 comments

Become a Meander-thal!!

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(This is a guest post by the Old Fat Man–Enjoy!)
Meander:

  1. To follow a winding and turning course. “Streams tend to meander on level ground.”
  2. To move aimlessly and idly without fixed direction: “Vagabonds meandering through life.”

Meander-thal:

  1. One who meanders as a lifestyle.
Are you a Meander-thal? Shouldn't you be?

Are you a Meander-thal? Shouldn’t you be?

Being a Meanderthal is a wonderful way of having fun! The OFM (Old Fat Man) honored to have Bob Wells ask him to write a guest article. For those who do not know him, the OFM normally has me, his alter ego, write his blog entries. The subject was left up to the OFM.
After much worry and hesitation the OFM decided that meandering was a worthwhile topic considering the readers of Bob’s blog are already in the moving about mode.
Meandering around makes a person a Meanderthal. It’s just that easy. The purpose is to visit whatever pops up in front of you and enjoy it. It might be a faint trail leading to who knows where. It could be the small sound of some honey bees in a hole in a cliff next to a trail you are following. It might even be a big concrete dam hidden behind a ridge down a rocky dusty road. The three things mentioned above actually happened to the OFM.
The faint trail was in the desert north of Del Rio, Texas within the Amistad Recreation Area. It lead to a limestone sinkhole about twenty feet from the trail edge. All the OFM did was notice a lot of small critter tracks cutting across the double track we were following. Why are all those critter tracks converging at that little trail our here in the midst of the desert? That was the question that begged answering.
Meandering led to this sink-hole.

Meandering led to this sink-hole.

The honey bees are another example of a great Meander. The OFM was headed down into Tuff Canyon in Big Bend NP. A faint hmmmmm could be heard. What is that? Where is it coming from? The sound was followed. Our path went up a narrow ravine toward a short cliff about a hundred meters away. On our way we found several sets of beautiful flowers. Bees were abundant on the flowers. When they left the flowers they headed in a straight line up the ravine, so we followed. When we got near the hive, it turned out to be in a hole in the small cliff. However what was neat was that the cliff had a water worn small cave cut into it. There were fresh tracks of a coyote in the sand near the entrance of the cave. It was another unexpected great find.
A cave found by pure "chance".

A cave found by pure “chance”.

The dam is actually Cuchillo Negro Dam of highway 52 west of Truth or Consequences NM. The OFM Teams were out with a goal of locating some free camping on the BLM land near TorC. We headed south on a ragged rocky road just chasing camping spots. After a couple of miles this fantastic large concrete dam came into view. What in the world is that doing out here? It did not show on the maps we carried. We still do not have that answered. The small canyon that the dam is blocking gave us a few days of meandering to enjoy. In fact there are several more square miles of territory to explore just waiting for some meanderer to come out to play. The BLM land in the area is huge and open to camping. It is not a good summer location.
What's this dam doing here, it isn't on any maps?

What’s this dam doing here, it isn’t on any maps?

The OFM has often been asked how he knew to go to those places. His answer is always the same. He didn’t. He just goes out and meanders. Very seldom do the Teams get out meandering without finding something new or unusual. There are great finds everywhere we have been. There are many more places to find if you just get out and meander everywhere.
The OFM ADVENTURES blog has a motto of trying to have tooooo much fun. You too can become a Meanderthal and find new to you neat things and places. Have fun, The OFM.
Bob: I really appreciate the OFM sharing his story and photos (I love the phrase meander-thal!). I encourage you all to check out his blog at www.ofmadventures.blogspot.com  I’m so inspired I hope the OFM will forgive me for putting in some meadering photos of my own:
Meandering Independence Pass in Colorado.

Meandering Independence Pass in Colorado.

Bob meandering the Blue Ridge Highway in North Carolina

Bob meandering the Blue Ridge Highway in North Carolina

Meandering New hampshires fall colors. Yes, I am a leaf-peeper.

Meandering New hampshires fall colors. Yes, I am a leaf-peeper.

Meandering the back-roads of Utah.

Meandering the back-roads of Utah.

Meandering Alaska.

Meandering Alaska.

Previous 13 Years of Vandwelling: a Voyage of Self-Discovery
Next Change is Hard at First, Messy in the Middle, and Gorgeous at the End!

29 Comments

  1. Calvin R

    That’s the life and attitude I’m after!

    • Bob

      Calvin, ne too!!
      Bob

  2. vtchris

    Nice to “see” OFM again…..hello! And now I have bookmarked a link to your new and improved website. Happy travels and hope to meet up again down the road.

    • Barney

      Hello Chris. I see you have been competing with me in the having tooooo much fun category. I always knew you would win.

  3. DougB

    Oh, poo! One more disadvantage of having some form of conventional RV! That “ragged, rocky road” description throws the flag of warning for many larger trailer rigs, where meandering through unfamiliar areas can easily mean getting trapped and having to back up long distances. Enjoy your freedom of road choices, vanners!

    • Bob

      Doug, I know the OFM also live in a Travel Trailer so he does okay with it. I think he includes foot (or bicycle) travel in meandering so you are included! But nothing beats a van for overall comfort and meander-ability!
      Bob

      • Barney

        Yep my home is an Arctic Fox 22H.

    • DougB

      Thanks guys. I just mean that, at least with a 7.000-pound trailer with dropped axles, long overhang and low clearance, it’s very risky to just see a trail entrance and say, “Hey, I think I’ll see what’s in here!” The great majority of FR571 in Prescott was super for a van/truck camper but either impassible or a challenge with my rig, trying to ride the ridges and listening for the dropped axles to ground out in the deep ruts. A few miles in, even the bare F-250 was nearly too large for the cuts into the hills. In my own very limited experience in other NFs in AZ and NM, I can usually find something usable, but rarely far in and never tucked away out of sight. In a van, you can just go in and scout around. For me, it’s looking for and memorizing places as I go where I can back into over the road’s shoulder to turn around when/if the road ahead gets too “bad”. Serendipity is for small rigs, and that’s their advantage. Long boulevard rigs like mine are more stressful to explore remote areas, and getting out frequently to walk ahead and evaluate is pretty much a requirement. Plus, propane fridges require almost dead-level sites, which weeds out a lot of nice choices. I notice that newer TTs tend to have straight axles and much better clearances, and I suspect a 20-footer would be near the limit for someone who prefers a TT. Still, I like my rig for what I do, but if one wants to camp in the really inspirational sites, Small and Tall is the only real way to do it. Mid-size vintage TTs can be supremely affordable, but for off-road adventure, not so much!

      • Bob

        Of course you are right Doug. With the van and my tiny trailer I am already fairly far back and then I go exploring on foot from their. I fully understand your point and I am considering switching back to a 4×4 pickup and camper for just that reason.
        Bob

  4. Joy

    That’s what it’s all about!

  5. Walt

    I like the term “meander-thal” and would love to become one. However, like DougB, I suspect we will be “stuck” with a larger RV that would not be suited to such meanderings. I say stuck because it will be at least two of us, maybe three (if our special needs son is in tow”, so we will need sleeping and living accomodations for that many.
    If I thought it would be just me, I think I could do with one of class B models I recently saw with the murphy bed. But with possibly three of us, a Class A or fifth-wheel will likely continue to be the RV that is right for us. Still, with a Jeep in tow, I suppose we could at least do some day-meandering.

    • Barney

      See the reply to Doug B above.

      • Walt

        Barney,
        That was interesting reading, and I know such opportunities and locations exist. I think the bigger problem when the time comes may be convincing my wife that whatever rig we have can make it to those kinds of locations. We’ve seen a few such locations here in Idaho, but I have had trouble convincing her to date to take our current fifth-wheel into any of those spots.

        • Barney

          When I was working in Washington State, I found lots of neat locations in Idaho. In fact the land south of Wallace Idaho is where I first noticed Arctic Fox trailers all over the place in the mountains.

    • Bob

      Walt, meandering isn’t limited to driving your home o wheels, you can meander on foot, bicycle, motorcycle or even in a Jeep!
      Being a Meander-thal isn’t a choice of vehicle, it is an attitude, and even with three of you you can still choose your attitude.
      Bob

  6. Mary

    I always thought of that as exploring and following my nose to see what is there. As I was thinking about what I wanted to do in my retirement, it occurred to me that I was happiest and most satisfied when I went exploring to see what was there. So I am working to unburden myself from the trappings of modern life so I can indulge in becoming a meanderthal.

    • Bob

      Mary, follow your heart!
      Bob

    • Bob

      Mary, hang in their, your day will come!
      Bob

  7. Martin Hamilton

    That is true freedom on earth!!! I’m proud to be a Meander-thal.

    • Bob

      You and me both Martin!
      Bob

    • Bob

      Me too Martin
      Bob

  8. CAE

    Every time I see these great roads that look so rugged, I think to myself that I should get at least a lift kit for the van in order to get clearance. I don’t need a four wheeler most of the time, but I gotta have clearance.

  9. Linda Sand

    I love this new term! It encapsulates so well my favorite style of travel. You can be a meanderthal in any type of rig. All it requires is a willingness to explore. Stop in any small town cafe and ask what you should see in the area then go there. No plan; just go. When driving down a two-lane road and you see a sign advertising something that sounds interesting, turn in. No plan; just go. Plans are the death of the meanderthal; just go.

    • Bob

      Very well said Linda!! And I know you are a true meanderthal!
      Bob

  10. Curtis

    It seems with society where it is now we have forgotten what it means to have an adventure.:)

  11. Linda

    That picture of the Blue Ridge Parkway takes my breath away. It’s beautiful.

    • Bob

      Thanks Linda, it is really gorgeous country!!
      Bob

  12. Gennifer

    This is a form of mindfulness that I teach in my photography courses. It’s so wonderful to maintain awareness of your senses, following interesting sights, sounds, smells, textures, etc. It really does lead you to some great experiences!

Table of Contents

29 Comments

  1. Calvin R

    That’s the life and attitude I’m after!

    • Bob

      Calvin, ne too!!
      Bob

  2. vtchris

    Nice to “see” OFM again…..hello! And now I have bookmarked a link to your new and improved website. Happy travels and hope to meet up again down the road.

    • Barney

      Hello Chris. I see you have been competing with me in the having tooooo much fun category. I always knew you would win.

  3. DougB

    Oh, poo! One more disadvantage of having some form of conventional RV! That “ragged, rocky road” description throws the flag of warning for many larger trailer rigs, where meandering through unfamiliar areas can easily mean getting trapped and having to back up long distances. Enjoy your freedom of road choices, vanners!

    • Bob

      Doug, I know the OFM also live in a Travel Trailer so he does okay with it. I think he includes foot (or bicycle) travel in meandering so you are included! But nothing beats a van for overall comfort and meander-ability!
      Bob

      • Barney

        Yep my home is an Arctic Fox 22H.

    • DougB

      Thanks guys. I just mean that, at least with a 7.000-pound trailer with dropped axles, long overhang and low clearance, it’s very risky to just see a trail entrance and say, “Hey, I think I’ll see what’s in here!” The great majority of FR571 in Prescott was super for a van/truck camper but either impassible or a challenge with my rig, trying to ride the ridges and listening for the dropped axles to ground out in the deep ruts. A few miles in, even the bare F-250 was nearly too large for the cuts into the hills. In my own very limited experience in other NFs in AZ and NM, I can usually find something usable, but rarely far in and never tucked away out of sight. In a van, you can just go in and scout around. For me, it’s looking for and memorizing places as I go where I can back into over the road’s shoulder to turn around when/if the road ahead gets too “bad”. Serendipity is for small rigs, and that’s their advantage. Long boulevard rigs like mine are more stressful to explore remote areas, and getting out frequently to walk ahead and evaluate is pretty much a requirement. Plus, propane fridges require almost dead-level sites, which weeds out a lot of nice choices. I notice that newer TTs tend to have straight axles and much better clearances, and I suspect a 20-footer would be near the limit for someone who prefers a TT. Still, I like my rig for what I do, but if one wants to camp in the really inspirational sites, Small and Tall is the only real way to do it. Mid-size vintage TTs can be supremely affordable, but for off-road adventure, not so much!

      • Bob

        Of course you are right Doug. With the van and my tiny trailer I am already fairly far back and then I go exploring on foot from their. I fully understand your point and I am considering switching back to a 4×4 pickup and camper for just that reason.
        Bob

  4. Joy

    That’s what it’s all about!

  5. Walt

    I like the term “meander-thal” and would love to become one. However, like DougB, I suspect we will be “stuck” with a larger RV that would not be suited to such meanderings. I say stuck because it will be at least two of us, maybe three (if our special needs son is in tow”, so we will need sleeping and living accomodations for that many.
    If I thought it would be just me, I think I could do with one of class B models I recently saw with the murphy bed. But with possibly three of us, a Class A or fifth-wheel will likely continue to be the RV that is right for us. Still, with a Jeep in tow, I suppose we could at least do some day-meandering.

    • Barney

      See the reply to Doug B above.

      • Walt

        Barney,
        That was interesting reading, and I know such opportunities and locations exist. I think the bigger problem when the time comes may be convincing my wife that whatever rig we have can make it to those kinds of locations. We’ve seen a few such locations here in Idaho, but I have had trouble convincing her to date to take our current fifth-wheel into any of those spots.

        • Barney

          When I was working in Washington State, I found lots of neat locations in Idaho. In fact the land south of Wallace Idaho is where I first noticed Arctic Fox trailers all over the place in the mountains.

    • Bob

      Walt, meandering isn’t limited to driving your home o wheels, you can meander on foot, bicycle, motorcycle or even in a Jeep!
      Being a Meander-thal isn’t a choice of vehicle, it is an attitude, and even with three of you you can still choose your attitude.
      Bob

  6. Mary

    I always thought of that as exploring and following my nose to see what is there. As I was thinking about what I wanted to do in my retirement, it occurred to me that I was happiest and most satisfied when I went exploring to see what was there. So I am working to unburden myself from the trappings of modern life so I can indulge in becoming a meanderthal.

    • Bob

      Mary, follow your heart!
      Bob

    • Bob

      Mary, hang in their, your day will come!
      Bob

  7. Martin Hamilton

    That is true freedom on earth!!! I’m proud to be a Meander-thal.

    • Bob

      You and me both Martin!
      Bob

    • Bob

      Me too Martin
      Bob

  8. CAE

    Every time I see these great roads that look so rugged, I think to myself that I should get at least a lift kit for the van in order to get clearance. I don’t need a four wheeler most of the time, but I gotta have clearance.

  9. Linda Sand

    I love this new term! It encapsulates so well my favorite style of travel. You can be a meanderthal in any type of rig. All it requires is a willingness to explore. Stop in any small town cafe and ask what you should see in the area then go there. No plan; just go. When driving down a two-lane road and you see a sign advertising something that sounds interesting, turn in. No plan; just go. Plans are the death of the meanderthal; just go.

    • Bob

      Very well said Linda!! And I know you are a true meanderthal!
      Bob

  10. Curtis

    It seems with society where it is now we have forgotten what it means to have an adventure.:)

  11. Linda

    That picture of the Blue Ridge Parkway takes my breath away. It’s beautiful.

    • Bob

      Thanks Linda, it is really gorgeous country!!
      Bob

  12. Gennifer

    This is a form of mindfulness that I teach in my photography courses. It’s so wonderful to maintain awareness of your senses, following interesting sights, sounds, smells, textures, etc. It really does lead you to some great experiences!