The Borderlands. Somewhere between here and there. Between now and then. Between right and wrong. The ragged edge of society where some of us choose to live, unnoticed, unremarked, unmissed.

Please share my thoughts and activities as shown below. The newest postings are at the top.

This beast is called the land train. It was tested at the Yuma Proving Ground in the sixties. It was intended to tow up to ten freight cars cross-country. Included in the giant chassis is complete accommodations for a crew of 6. I guess it didn't pan out because this is the only one I have ever seen

28 December 2015 Yuma Proving Ground

Yuma Proving Ground is an odd collection of test courses, obstacles and ranges of all kinds where the Army tests new equipment. The size of the place is measured in hundreds of square mile, not acres. Everything from pistols to guided missliles get put through their paces here. Post facilities are extremely limited because the number of personnel permanently assigned here is fairly small. The exchange is little more that a convenence store and the commissary is like a corner market in the neighborhood. Yuma is only about 15 miles away, though, so you can get by just fine. 

Most of the residents in the Rv park are long term people spending the winter here. The place is so far off the beaten path that it doesn't lend itself to the general transient RV crowd. I am the exception. I have been here 9 nights and I am pushing off for California in the morning. I plan to visit family and welcome in the new year at March Air Force Base outside Riverside.

Your tax dollars at rest. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson is host to 2600 acres of mothballed war birds. Some are merely waiting for another call to duty but many are waiting for the wrecking ball.

14 December 2015 Davis-Monthan Air Force Base

The RV park at Davis-Monthan Air Force Basr is the nicest park I have stayed in since leaving Tennessee. Everything is tidy and well maintained, the wifi works most of the time, cable TV is included and on base facilities are excellent. Add to that the fact that Tucson lies just outside the gate and anything your little heart desires is available to you. In fact, the reason I came here was to have a custom sweat shirt made for Jackie for Christmas.  You can be sure that I will return here whenever my travels bring me to the area.

Home sweet home in Deming

10 December 2015 Deming, New Mexico

This is where I have been hanging out for the last several days. The place belongs to Sue Miner and she generously offerred me the chance to stay here while she was off four wheeling in Quartzsite. It isn't bad as an RV spot. I have full hook ups with 30 amp electricity and wifi. The bad thing is no cable TV but I can go in the house if I want to watch TV. Deming isn't quite the end of the world but if I stand in the back of my truck I can see it from here. Peaceful would be the word you would use to describe this place and peaceful is exactly what I needed.

I have used the time to reorganize and repack both the trailer and my soul. Now my time here is drawing to a close and I must look forward to what is to come. Outside the fence is a dirt road that eventually connects to a paved secondary road that connects to Interstate 10 that connects to the whole country. I face that enormity with some humility. This is the first time i have been out there alone. I have travelled this highway many times before but I have never been down this road before. Let's see what's out there, shall we? Tucson next week.

1 December 2015 - Postcard from BFE

So here I am in Stockton, Texas. Where is that? you say. Well, as near as I can figure, it's about 40 miles southeast of BFE. In case you never served in the military or were close to someone who did, I should probably explain. BFE is Bum Fuck Egypt. Now, I couldn't put my finger on it on a map, but it is pretty damn far from Kansas.

I got here because it was a convenient stop on my Death March from Livingston, TX to Deming, NM. Texas is a big, big place. You could grow old driving out of Texas. I feel like I have used up perhaps a decade of my allotted time here. On the other hand, as they say, Texas is a whole other country. It is absolutely worth the time it takes to get to know it.

So tomorrow I will tackle my last 350 miles of Texas and make a run for New Mexico. The only driving challenge will be El Paso. El Paso isn't complex from a driving stand point. It isn't like San Antonio where you are faced with multiple lane changes and split second decisions on where to place you and the 39 feet of 5th wheel behind you. 

El Paso is a pretty straight shot. Interstate 10 is just about the only choice you have to make. The issue is there are maybe 5,000 other drivers making the same choices you have to make. That, and the threat of stray bullets out of Ciudad juarez about 50 feet away. It is a very unsociable place.

Assuming I get through there without any bullet holes in my rig. I should make Deming, New Mexico well berfore dark. There I will rendevous with Sue miner who as agreed to let me house sit on her property while she explores the phenomenon that is Quartzsite for a couple of months. I probably won't stay that long but I appreciate the free hook ups for as long as I am there.

25 November 2015. Sniveling withdrawn

After my sniveling about cafeteria turkey yesterday, a dear friend remineded me I have been in worse places for Thanksgiving. Count of the military for that. The number one worst Thanksgiving was 1967

Some little bastard was trying to kill me with a grenade launcher. This wasn't your usual to whom it may concern attack. This son of a bitch was trying to kill me personally. He had caught me out in a barren field (thanks to Agent Orange) and was chasing me around with his grenades. Thanks to long strides and a serious injection of adrenaline I stayed ahead of him. Meantime, I''m talking to the mortar section back at company HQ and before the fucker kills me, I drop 10 mortar rounds on his ass. 

I didn't feel sorry at the time. I still don't feel sorry.The whole episode was fairly persnoal but now I will offer an apology of sorts. I'm sorry Dude. It wasn't personal. It was just business. My business was to kill you and your business was to kill me. It just so happened that on that day in that place I was the better man. I had turkey with all the trimmings later that day and you didn't. Cockadoody occurs.

So all things considered, cafeteria turkey in Livingston, Texas ain't so bad.

24 November 2015 - Livingston, Texas

I know. You ask why am I in livingston, TX. This is the world headquarters of Escapees RV club. I am a member and they handle my mail forwarding for me. I thought i would come and see  where they did it. Now I can scratch that off my bucket list. There is no ther reason I can see to come to livingston.

Thanksgiving will be a real hoot. I have signed up for some cafeteria turkey at a table with ten other people I never met. Woohoo. Not your traditional holiday. I'm sure they will be nice people but they won't be family.

There is a bright spot. Jackie has said she will call me on Thanksgiving. That will make the day for me. I still want that woman back. She makes me happy. That is the long and short of it. The heart wants what it wants and you can't control it. I'm lookng forward to the call. I hope I don't screw it up.

18 November 2015 - Ajax is here

It's 0350 in the morning and winter storm Ajax is finally here in Meridian, MS. No wind. No hail. Very little lightning. Just a hellish rain. The rain tears at the roof of the 5th wheel like a cat trying to get at a mouse hiding in a match box. It is malevolent, malicious rain. It is so loud you can barely hear the thunder over it.

Poor Bella, who is afraid of almost everything, is hiding up under my chair. Bart, much more courageous, lies on the couch but never takes his eyes off of me. He waitsa for a cue from me before he reacts. He waits, that is until a bolt of lightning hits so close it shakes the trailer and then he decides to join Bella under my chair. Even the usually aloof Prince Harry comes out of his hidey hole and curls up next to me.

The weather radio is constantly blaring warnings of one sort or aother. I don't know where most of them are but I now I am in Lauderdale County and only one warning applies to me. A tornado watch is in effect. Shit! It is still hours until sunrise.

17 November 2015 - Waiting on Ajax

So here I sit in mid-Mississippi waiting for the storm the Weatther Channel has dubbed Ajax. It has been a major snow event in eastern Colorado and western Kansas but when it get here, it won't be snow we have to worry about. Here, it will be a Mother of tornadoes. I hate tornadoes. I really hate tornadoes when I'm in an RV. I went to Winn-Dixie and got some supplies to allow me to stay inside for the next two days. Oranges, Spam, coffee and a couple of avocadoes. I will make up some avocado dip to help pass the time as I huddle by my weather alert radio. If it sounds the alarm, I'm not sure what I will do. There is no tornado shelter in this park. It all comes down to karma. Is it my time or not. I'm comfortable with that. I'm looking forward to the avocado dip.

Farewell Tennessee

Tonight I shall sleep in Alabama after spending the last four years in Tennessee. I can't say I shall miss Tennessee. Some of the worst family crises of my life took plake these last fout years in Tennessee. I can't blame Tennessee for this. It's a beautiful state with a lot of very good people in it.  It just so happens that my personal karmic maelstrom took place there. In any event, I shall not look back.

Alabama marks a discontinuity in the strata of my life. Recently, I have been consumed by the dismantling of a life. Now, I am starting the process of inventing a new life. I must see the world with eyes I've not used yet. I am a total stranger in my own life. Follow along as I discover who I shall be.

10 November 2015 - H-Hour Approaches

This post will be mercifully short as I am exhausted. I made two trips to the dump today, loaded the truck for another trip tomorrow morning and sandwiched in a large donation to the Goodwill in town. To some, the things I carried away are just cast offs and junk, but to me it is a life dismantled. Since August I have been visiting the dump and the Goodwill regularly. Yes, in the beginning it was mostly just stuff that had accumulated over time. But as deaparture drew near, the stuff I loaded into the truck got more and more personal. Stress levels have gone through the roof as I get closer to leaving. Now that only a couple of days stand between me and the open road I am worn to a frazzle. I will need a few days to decompress early on.

Dino's Desert Ranger, 9 September 2002 - 21 October 2015

21 October 2015 - So long old friend

I put him down today. Three strokes in two weeks had left him a shadow of his former self. The dog that lived for the afternoon game of fetch with his tennis ball couldn't even pick the ball up anymore. The joy was gone out of his life.

I held his head and rubbed his ears while the vet administered the shot that would end his life. His eyes closed and his head got heavy in my hands until I held the entire weight. I laid his head down and he was gone. So was a chunk of my heart.

This dog hand been my constant companion since I could carry him in one hand. We were soul mates. Thanks for thirteen years of wonderful memories, Ranger. God willing, I'll see you on the other side. 

October 12, 2015 - A Teaser For You

I have put the first chapter of my novel, "Chasing Charlene" on the site in hopes of teasing you into actually buying and reading the book. I hope you enjoy it.

At present, the book is only available in the Kindle format. If you don't have a Kindle but do have a tablet, there is a free app for your tablet. I am exploring a paperback edition and hope to have it available soon.

October 6, 2015 - I am Published

Today is a great day. My first novel, Chasing Charlene is being published on Kindle. It should be available for purchase sometime tomorrow. The price is $2.99.

What is the novel about you ask? Well, let me tell you. For 41 years Chuck Calder has been half of Chuck and Charlene. Now Charlene is gone and when Chuck looks in the mirror, the image is fuzzy. Just who is single Chuck? Now that he is looking back on it, what kind of relationship was it, really? When he was in it up to his elbows, he was just too involved to assess the state of things. Looking back, it looks like a mixed bag. There was a lot of good but there were challenges as well. Just how was it on balance?

Chuck sets out on his motorcycle to visit the places that were central in the marriage. He hopes to stand where he stood and see what he saw. To find out if you really can't go home again, you'll just have to buy the book and read it.

The second thing that made this day great was that Ranger felt well enough to play fetch for the first time since his stroke. Chasing that tennis ball has been the highlight of his day for years now. The stroke took that from him but today he was back.

October 3, 2015 - The List is Finished

Saturday morning is a red letter day. I signed the papers to put the house on the market. The list is done, for all practical purposes. I still have to get to the dentist and get one more dog to the vet for shots but those are minor events. The realtor assures me the house will sell quickly and closing could be as soon as six weeks away.

Just as it seemed like the world was going my way, I noticed my dear old friend Ranger was acting strangely.He would stand stock still, then take a few halting steps and rest his head on the floor. I rushed him to the vet and was told he had just had a stroke! Baby aspirin was prescribed but with the warning that more strokes were likely. He is thirteen years old and I knew this day was coming. I just didn't know it would be today.

September 22, 2015 - A Mixed Bag

Worrisome news from my sister, Kathy, in California. My dad is ailing again. He is 93 and any problems are cause for concern but this round seems especially troublesome. He is suffering from a series of urinary tract infections and is in danger running out of suitable antibiotics or developing resistance to them. I will be following the situation closely in the days ahead.

On a brighter note, I was able to cross one more thing off the list today. I got the new tires for the 5th wheel today. 

September 18, 2015 - The Tyranny of The List

With so much to do and only myself to do it, I have opted not to set a date for my RV departure. Instead, I have prepared a list of things to be done and I whittle away at it in soldierly fashion. When it is done, I am gone. It's that simple.

Or is it?

Some of the items are interdependent. A must be completed before B can be started. That's easy enough. Others, however, are free ranging events. They can be tackled anytime i have the energy, the nerve, and the money to get them done. Those are the jobs that keep me awake nights. Should I begin work on X tomorrow or would it make more sense to erase L from the list.

Right now, I am into the painting portion of the chores. Now if I were to prioritize the things I would like to spend my time doing, painting would show up somewhere south of getting a colonoscopy. If you are a homeowner with finite funds, however, painting takes its place alongside death and taxes as one of life's inevitables.

Traveler is home

Traveler ( my F-350 long bed, crew cab 1-ton dually) is back home at last. For the past ten days or so the truck has been languishing in the repair shop, undoing the damage caused by a catastrophic blow out on a recent trip to Pennsylvania. Just as we pulled into Pigeon Forge, TN the right outside dual went with a bang. It tore off the fender, sheared the exhaust pipe off,and punched two holes in the front of the trailer. I have never experienced such a blowout before. To compound the horror, this was but the worst of five blowouts we experienced on this trip! I guess heat wasd a factor but the age of the tires was probably the real culprit. All of them were around five years old.

Anyway, the shop finally finished the work and Traveler is back in the driveway. Unfortunately, the trailer will be another month before it comes out of the service swamp at Camping World. They are going to replace the front of the trailer because it is cheaper than repairing the two holes. I'm glad insurance is covering the bill.

Here is my Baby, ready to go again.

August 31, 2015 - The five of us

So now the five of us will launch off into the unknown.  Let me introduce us. In the upper left is Prince Harry, more commonly known as Hair Bear (who knows why). He was a rescue cat that came to us via my son, Eric. He and his wife, Holly split up and when the dust settled, Jackie and I wound up with Hair Bear and my two grandsons, Alex, age 12, and and Drew, age 6. The boys were with us for a year and the strains of that period may well have something to do with Jackie's decision to leave. Harry has proven to be a much less complicated and demanding companion that the boys were. He is a simple, patient, and gently companion. Except for the fact that he demands a complete change of the water dish before he will drink, he is no trouble at all.

Top right is Dino's Desert Ranger, the only registered dog I have ever shared my life with. He is one of only 22,000 or so German Short-Hair Pointers in the country. He is smart enough to be a little scary at times and if you look up loyal if your dictionary, you will see his picture. He is far and away the best dog I have ever known and he is getting old. he is 13 years old now, about a year past the usual life span for these high energy canines.

Bottom left is Bart, my Blue Heeler. We found Bart lying on the hillside behind our house watching the road. After a day or two, it was obvious he wasn't just a stray dog from a nearby farm. We called him in and fed him, promising ourselves we would take him to the shelter if no one showed up looking for him. He had no collar and a visit to the vet proved he had no chip implanted. Some low life ass had apparently dumped him in the country assuming he would be able to get along on his own. More likely he would be shot while sniffing around someone's chickens. Bart has the potential to rival Ranger as best dog. If you look into those eyes, you can see the answers to  the eternal questions of the universe. If he could only talk he would set you on the right path. I could use some of that advice right now, Bart.

Bella is the bottom right dog. She is a rescue dog and was passed off as an Australian Cattle Dog. Has anybody ever heard of that breed? Me neither. It doesn't matter. Bella is the only female in our little band and she is full of personality. She is something of a challenge. She gets separation anxiety when left without human company and tends to eat expensive things until her humans return. One example that leaps to mind is a bombardier leather love seat. I worry about her in an RV.

The one in the middle is me: Master Sergeant Chris Haden (Retired). I did 20 years iin the Army and the Army National Guard on active duty. I served in the infantry on active duty and the combat engineers in the Guard. I was in Vietnam for the Tet Offensive of 1968 and I have a box full of medals and ribbons that i can take in to any Starbucks anywhere and get a cup of coffee for around five bucks. I also enjoy various aches and pains from my years of physical abuse and a ringing in my ears that just won't stop. That said, I am proud of my service to this country and don't begrudge a single day of it. Military service is a challenge and a privelege and those unfortunates among you who have not undertaken it probably don't really know who you are and you certainly don't know who you can be.

What Now

Everything that was important when I left home this morning is unimportant now. Everything that was in the front of the line is not even in line anymore. What the hell?

Jackie and I were in the final stages of selling our home and moving into our RV when she left. My training and inclination as a retired military man tells me to keep on keeping on. I guess that's what I'll do. Time will tell if that is the right thing to do or a complete mistake. Stay tuned.

August 29, 2015 - The Day the Music Died

As soon as I saw that her car wasn't in the driveway I knew the truth of it but I couldn't let myself think it out loud. I went in the house and looked for her cat. Etta mae came to us too young to live without her mother. Only Jackie's fierce determination kept the little ball of fur alive. Jackie did it. She saved the kitten. The three dogs and our older cat, Harry, were still there, but no Etta Mae. I knew she wouldn't leave without that cat.

The cat was gone. But what if there had been some sort of emergency and Jackie had to take the cat to the vet. I made myself walk into our bedroom and check her closet and drawers. They were empty. There could be no doubt. She had left me for the 3rd time.

I texted her to see if I could get some answers. Her reply was short and to the point.

"I have left you. I love you but I don't like you."

With that, the dream died and something new would have to take its place. No further explanation was offered.