Aug. 17, 2016

Camping Blues!

Hello friends.

How are all doing on this hump day! I hope all are well and resting comfortably at home. I’m currently at a McDonald’s, right outside Philadelphia, using their WIFI to send this post. I had to drive 34 miles to the nearest camp ground, across the river in New Jersey.

 I started my Pennsylvania gig on Monday and it could have not come at a better time for me on this tour. As you read on my last blog, the funds have run dry and its day by day now for the rest of the journey. The gig is a remolding job with a local contractor, who has plenty of work lined up for the next few weeks. The pay is also up there for the type of work I’m doing for him. His name is Chris and I will tell you all about the experience this weekend, once I get a chance to write it.

I had to really take a step back this weekend and reassess my approach to this journey. I’ve been so focused on a timeline and sticking to a schedule of two states a week, that it became obvious right from the start that it was not going to be feasible. I still tried, but it was stressing me out a bit. There are too many factors involved in determining the amount of time I will stay in one place, including weather, cost and job availability. If you have followed me from the beginning, I made it a goal to be done and back in Arizona by December of this year. Plain and simple, it’s not going to happen. I wanted to beat the cold weather back home and be ready to put the book together the first of the year.

Now the strategy is to complete this adventure with no timeline. I will have to change my frame of mind and be determined to finish the goal of fifty states no matter how long it takes. Despite the occasional homesick periods I experience or the less than satisfying nights I’m going to continue to encounter in the next few months, I made up my mind to go forward. I will continue to look for better jobs and be more aggressive about my pay scale. I should be able to find work at every stop, but it will leave me with an extremely tight budget, and the possibility of having to stay in  one place for a while, now exists. I have to strictly spend my earnings on food gas and bills, nothing else.  Lots of dollar menus and two meal days will be in the works from now on. Maybe down the road things might turn for the better, but I doubt it.

Yet I still continue to enjoy all the simple things I experience on a daily basis. The new people I constantly meet and the places I only dreamed of visiting my entire life. There is so much more I want see that lays just ahead, if I just stick it out a few more months. I know I will never regret the effort and sacrifice I’ll put in, the rest of my living days.

So on a good note, I’m really enjoying Philadelphia. It’s a great city with a cultural diversity and an east coast attitude to match. I’ll write about it next time.

Have a great night and thanks for your support! #Yo-Ga-Fla


Aug. 14, 2016


Aug. 14, 2016


Good afternoon friends,

I write you today from the beautiful city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Home of Benjamin Franklin, the Fresh Prince and the Eagles! I hope all are well and resting from a hard worked week or retirement. I drove up yesterday from Delaware and after sleeping at the TA truck stop, I’m sitting here at the local library escaping from the heat.  I did get up early this morning and drove downtown to take some picture before the tourist invaded the most popular attractions. There is so much history here in the city of Brotherly love, and the scenery is just amazing to see.  

I managed to secure a gig already for tomorrow with a local contractor, and I’m scheduled to meet with him early tomorrow. He has multiple projects going and I hope I can help him with a few.  I’m right across the river from New Jersey, so I’m keeping a watch on that CL , hoping I can secure one there as well. Then on to New York City, where I don’t plan to look for work but only visit as a tourist after I complete these two states, hopefully this coming week. I don’t want to drive in the madness of that area or pay the high toll rates they charge. I expect logistics would also be a nightmare with materials and supplies. I plan to secure my N.Y. gig on the return, stopping in Buffalo or Rochester as I head west. So after the Big Apple, I will head for New Haven and Bridgeport, Ct.

I’m getting closer to the half-way point and knocking states out quicker, but the reality of this adventures’ existence comes down to finances. The truth is that my travel, lodging and eating expenses surpass my earnings. I have spent all my savings and emergency funds, despite taking drastic measures, like skipping meals and sleeping in less than desirable locations. Something that I couldn’t have calculated back months ago back home. The problem lies not with the inability to find work but the rate of pay I have to settle for in order to secure most gigs. Not that I haven’t scored some good paying jobs, but they have been too few and far in between. Basically, I’m working as a skilled worker, but getting paid a helper or laborer. So now begins, the real survival portion of my journey.  I’m determined to continue forward, hoping to earn enough money to pay my bills, gas up, and eat. Until I accomplish my goal of fifty states. I plan to see a whole lot more truck stops and campgrounds in the next few months, unless my pay increases here quickly. Its now gut check time, and we'll see what the Johnny Man is made of.

Well friends that is all for now, keep checking my photo page for new pictures and continue to support my journey. You are and have been a great source of encouragement throughout, and I truly thank you for that!

 Have a great weekend! #Yo-Ga-Fla


Aug. 12, 2016

Silly stuff, and my wallet.

Hello friends,

I write you this hot and steamy afternoon from the Newark, Delawares' free library. I’m not sure why they call it free, I though all public libraries were free? Maybe they charged at some point and now they don’t!  At any rate, I discovered public libraries are a good alternative to parks and campgrounds, whenever I have idle time. On the plus side, they are really quiet and air conditioned with free internet access. On the down side, some woman with cat-eyed glasses keeps making ugly faces at me whenever I sing over my headphones. I assume she is not a Led Zeppelin fan. I guess our taxes are serving a good purpose. Now I feel guilty not paying them all those years. Just kidding!

My Delaware gig was sidelined for the day due to one of the bosses’ wife going into labor last night. It’s been another interesting gig, and you’ll read about it when we complete it tomorrow, on the gigs page. Since I’m not doing much, I decided to write about another side story.

 I received the scare of my tour so far, and it had nothing to do with a gig. When I arrived in the state on Wednesday afternoon, I decided to stop at the local GNC for some vitamins, on my way to the campgrounds for the evening. Nothing unusual happened at the store, but I exited with my hands full of the purchases, my keys, phone and wallet. Now there are three things I always make sure I have with me and cannot afford to lose at any point, so far from home, my cell phone, keys and wallet. I jumped in the truck and headed for the KOA. Three miles down the road I took inventory, as I always do, and didn’t feel my wallet in my side pocket. Sudden panic filled my entire body! I quickly searched the trucks seat and counsel before the light turned green again, nothing. I hit the gas once it did and made a u turn. I immediately stopped on the shoulder and scanned every possible nook and cranny I figured it could have possibly fell into, as it sometimes does. Nothing. Now I’m cussing in Spanish!

I knew then that I had probably dropped it when I unlocked the door manually, back at the shopping center parking lot. Now I have extra keys stashed in the vehicle and my phone can be replaced, but losing my wallet would be a disaster. License, debit and credit cards, S.S. card being the most important. If you’ve ever lost a purse or wallet, you know the hassle it requires to replace all the articles lost. Especially for me and it would definitely paralyze my tour for a few days or longer.

I jumped back in the Gigs mobile and raced back! Three miles felt like thirty, especially now that the world seemed to go in slow motion with every city block I travelled. I got all the lights red, of course and everybody in front of me was moving way too slow. If I was from this side of the country, I would have worn out my horn! I knew it wasn’t too far, but I knew that it would only take a minute for someone to spot it and scoop it up. Every minute counted! I finally reached the main boulevard, but the shopping center was still on the other side of the medium that divided the streets. Feeling the pressure to reclaim my goods, I impulsively jumped the medium like a big monster truck in a rally, before the other side turned green! Surely all the commuters saw me and shook their heads, especially if they saw my Arizona plates. Desperate times call for desperate measures indeed. I hooked a right turn and pulled up right where I had been parked not fifteen minutes earlier.

And there it was, still lying where I had apparently and carelessly dropped it in my haste to get going. Whew! What a relief. My stomach was in my throat as I stooped over to pick it up. I was so relieved that no one saw it there in the open. A black wallet on black asphalt helped disguise it a bit I concluded. I drove back to my intended destination still reeling from the emotions and shock of what could have been if someone had actually found it before me. It still makes me shutter of the possibility. Once I set up my camp and sat to relax, I thought of my reckless behavior on the road back to the scene. I felt somewhat guilty, but under the same circumstances, I don’t know how else I would have reacted.

I grew a few more gray hairs with that episode and I hope I don’t repeat it. I truly do try to take a lot of precautions with every aspect of this adventure, but sometimes s*#@ happens, to everybody. So that’s my story, one I will never forget. Next time I have some free time I want to talk about road kill. Only because I scored my first victim last night, in Glasgow, De.

So friends, have a great evening and thanks for your time and support. Bye! #Yo-Ga-Fla


Aug. 10, 2016


KOA Holiday Campground, West Chester, Pa.