The Thousand Mile Challenge

A good challenge may help distract you from the endless episodes of corona chatter, death, and mob destruction.

Let a good challenge provide distraction and relief from today’s endless episodes of corona chatter, death, and mob destruction. My challenge? 1,000 miles.

We’ve been plenty busy salvaging Moonlight Mesa Associates from three, yes 3, fires since March. The latest fire wiped out three of the company’s four acres. It was started, experts believe, by somebody who drove down the highway with their chains dragging on the cement. Unless you’re around trucks and trailers you might not know that the safety chains often drag on the ground. This can cause a spark. Arizona is bone dry right now.  (The 1,000 miles is coming up.)

Fortunately, the building and immediate grounds were saved, although the fire came as close as 10’ from the back of the building. We were huddled 1600 miles away in Anacortes licking our wounds from our earlier disasters when our realtor called and informed us that helicopters were dropping buckets of water on our back porch. Hmm. Stunned at yet another catastrophe and unable to do anything at the time, we stayed a few more days in Anacortes, then took a beautiful week-long trip down the coast driving back to Arizona avoiding any discussion of what might be awaiting us.

So, where do the thousand miles come in? I’m getting to that.

Needless to say, we spent the next few weeks pushing back our fire-line. This means raking, hoeing, and hooping acres of dull, dead, dry grass that’s knee deep, and cutting limbs off out-of-control creosote bushes and damaged mesquite and palo verde trees. It’s beginning to look good…the part we’ve done anyway.

IMG_1479    So, now onto the 1,000 miles. On a recent windless morning, we actually stole away and went rowing at Lake Pleasant. We arrived at 6:00 a.m., and were launched by 6:20. It helps if you know that I’m an avid rower. I currently own two rowing vessels. My rowing skiff, complete with row-wings made by my husband Tom, is in Anacortes, WA. with our small tugboat. My wherry, built by my husband for my birthday several years ago, lives with us in Wickenburg. It has the full set-up of sliding seats, 9’6” oars, and of course, row-wings. It’s a creation of beauty!

50dfc-oldfolksweb-jpeg Rowing is very physical – and mental. I wrote a book about this, The Old Folks in the Boat, which I took off the market. (You may order a copy from me if you wish – it’s heavily discounted.) Anyway, I won’t go into the details at this time. However, as we rowed I realized I needed a good, challenging goal to boost my morale. On a whim I decided I would row 1,000 miles this year. Oops. I then realized the year is half over and I’ve hardly rowed due to the move, the fires, and my mule launch. So, I decided I’d row 500 miles in 2020, but in 2021 I would row 1,000 miles.

In July  we’ll be building the new shop. ( We do the job. No contractors.) But, I’ll sneak in some rows and in August we’ll head back to the tug where I can row every day. Still, 500 miles is a lot of miles. Arizona is hot hot hot…too hot to row unless I start at 6:00 in the morning. Can’t get the shop built and row every day, though.

Not everyone needs a challenge. I do. It keeps me enthused and determined and distracted from today’s endless episodes of corona chatter, death, and mob destruction. I need that. So far, I’ve only rowed 10.92 miles this year, but the year is not yet done. Keep in mind that the skiff is more difficult to row than the long, graceful wherry which can be rowed by either one or two people. The skiff is slower for one thing, and only one person can row. The wherry glides through the water like a fish…or surfer…whatever. Unfortunately, the wherry cannot go with us to the tugboat…it’s too big for our small vessel and it’s too risky to tow it behind the tug. Nevertheless, I’m excited about this challenge. I’m feeling pretty positive, in fact.

Do you have a challenge?

My First Big Challenge...crossing oceans
We managed to survive 7 years and 25,000 miles aboard a 34′ Cal 2-34. Now THAT was often a challenge!

 

Saying Goodbye to a Way of Life

With the advent of Covid-19, most Americans will likely find life different in the near future – and maybe forever.

 

I’m no different than most Americans, although I will confess that I think the reaction to the virus has been a bit overblown; however, let me hasten to add that I’m not a doctor, scientist or other health professional. Still…

 

rocky landing
The scene of the “crime”

As for my own life there are other major changes. For starters, after being pummeled by my mule about 6 weeks ago I found myself in the emergency room being radiated by a Cat Scan and ex-rays. Unable to sleep on my left side, sneeze, or laugh without gripping my side in agony, I made the decision to hang up my spurs. (To be honest, I made this decision as I painfully got up from the ground.) After 30+ years of riding horses and mules, I had no hesitation. In the past I mounted back up when I had a spill – I’d done so several times. Not this time.  My love affair with riding abruptly ended when I hit those rocks. 

 

cropped-cropped-rebaandbecky.jpgAm I sad or grieving? No. I do feel very bad that somehow I failed with this mule. I tried for nearly 4 years to make a go of it with her, but we were just not a good match even though the mule trader from whom I bought her raved about her safety and fine qualities. Did he lie? I’ll never know, but I suspect he was not exactly truthful about a few things. Anyway, it doesn’t matter at this point, I guess.

 

Other than feeling like a failure with the mule, I am not at all unhappy. In fact, as a friend pointed out, we now have a new chapter opening in our lives. WE CAN ACTUALLY GO PLACES AND NOT HAVE TO BOARD THE MULES. Boarding animals is expensive. Keeping shoes on them is expensive. Feeding them is expensive. Vet bills can be expensive. Horse/mule trailers are expensive and in AZ we go through tires quickly due to the heat. So many times we’ve passed up opportunities to take off on the spur of the moment because of the pesky question: who is going to feed the mules while we’re gone? Or we’ve come back early to feed.

 

cropped wallace islandWe can now stay up north longer during the hot Arizona summer months because we won’t need to use a thousand or MORE dollars of our meager vacation fund to pay for boarding the mules.

 

I loved this mule. She didn’t particularly love me. She was unpredictable to the point that I started wearing a helmet two years ago. Good decision. I landed on my head, face, ribs and left leg with a splat on a rock pile.                                   

 

However, despite my “senior-citizen” age and the height from which I was sent soaring, I only broke one finger! Probably got it tangled in the reins. I am so fortunate! And I am thankful everyday for that.

 

JUST1THING E2I now have much more time to promote the JUST ONE THING Alliance, market our publications, hike and ROW, ROW, ROW, and much more time to devote to getting my Marine Naturalist Certification, the Rights of Nature, and Saving Our Oceans since I won’t have to return to Arizona so early every summer due to mule-boarding bills! 

 

dc7ca-oldfolksweb

 Although I still cannot lift weights (not even 5 lb. dumbells) I can row my ergometer. I’m headed to the lake next week to see how I do in the wherry. I can hardly wait! I’d like to get into “senior” rowing competitions in the near future. Doing so will take practice and time – and I’ll now have time for that. Basically, I truly believe the changes I’m making are for the better.

 

And perhaps the changes we all may have to make due to Covid-19 will be for the better too.

 

SOOpc jpeg
Release date: May 2019

 

 

     

 

Moonlight Mesa Announces Release of Two New E-Books

In a surprise move, Moonlight Mesa Associates publisher Becky Coffield announced  that two of the company’s nonfiction titles will be released as e-books very soon.

        SGA Cover Some Gave All, J.R. Sanders’ nonfiction account of Old West Lawmen Who Died With Their Boots On, will likely be in e-book format in January. “Converting this book without losing its design is a challenge,” Coffield said. “We positively do not want to lose the artwork and photos in the book. We’ve managed to get the file below 50MG, so it should work with Kindle, but the file is much too large for Smashwords, unfortunately.”

Although Kindle claims the bulk of e-book sales, Smashwords is a distributor to ALL E-BOOKS – every brand imaginable.

“We’ve been thinking of doing this for quite some time. Thinking is the easy part; doing is the challenge.”

Coffield’s big push is to have the e-book available in January. “This is just a wonderful book,” Coffield said. “But eliminating photos and such hurts. We eliminated photos in Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride because no e-book publisher could handle the size of the files back then. Hopefully they can do better now.”

E cover RowingMedThe other title Coffield is moving to electronic format is also undergoing a title change. The Old Folks in the Boat will be available also in January, under a new ISBN and title: Rowing for Health. The original title will be kept as part of the subtitle.

“We made a mistake choosing the title for the book,” Coffield admits. “We spent months – no, two years – throwing titles around. Seriously. I don’t know how that happened as much time as we spent talking about titles.”

Coffield feels that the book should be doing better than it is. “We didn’t expect a barn-burner with a niche book, and we’ve sold copies every month, but I truly think the book should be selling better. We talked about just re-issuing it under a new title and a new ISBN, but the thought of having to change the cover and headers and the uploads, it just exhausted me. That’s still a possibility, but I’d prefer not to go there – at least at this time,” the publisher said.

The e-book title will be Rowing for Health. The subtitle will be Inspiration from The Old Folks in the Boat. Like Sanders’ book, the number of photos in the electronic version of Rowing for Health could present a stumbling block.

Moonlight Mesa’s 2018 top-selling nonfiction, A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule,  is not destined for e-book conversion – at least at this time. The publisher will, however, release an e-book for Saving Our Oceans at the same time as the trade-paperback. “I expect better e-book sales with that title,” Coffield said. “I can’t tell you why. I just do.” Coffield plans to donate the money from sales to orca and ocean groups.