Along the Ray

Along the Ray

An alien from a different plane wandering the universe in a tiny camper

September 20, 2023

8-29 Seeking offline-ness and slowness, bump in the night, more trash

Note: As you can tell from the date in the title I’m still catching up on prior handwritten entries. Once caught up I plan on sorting a way to keep this blog current with the notes. Perhaps type em up each night? Thing is I don’t want to use the computer that much. Am open to any ideas…

Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky

In my continuing efforts to be offline more I’m not checking the news of the world as often. It is refreshing and reinvigorating to be free of the constant hammering of the mind.

I’ve realized checking the news is a dopamine hit — the worse the headlines are the bigger it is.

Being naturally curious about what’s going on in the world, I don’t want to bury my head in the sand either. So my goal is to top off the news perhaps in the afternoon like we used to get an afternoon newspaper back in the day.

Balance. It seems to work well so far.


On a related note I’ve noticed there are quite a bit less areas here in the contiguous States that don’t have cellular coverage since I started nomading six years ago.

For modern society it’s probably a good thing. But otherwise for those of us who like to get away from it all.

Sure, it’s easy to just turn everything off but psychologically/mentally (and likely physically too — giving our bodies a break from the constant pulsing of microwave and radio signals) it’s a whole different and liberating feeling when an invisible blanket is cast across the sky rendering a cone of silence.

I miss it.

It’s now my goal to find more of these endangered places completely disconnected from the world at large before they’re gone altogether.

P.S. I know I can get a portable satellite internet kit but why wear a leash? In my case erranding to towns for work related connectivity suffices.


It’s interesting how I sometimes yearn back to a world where slow connectivity ruled the day (letters, landline phones, actually hanging with people, etc.), freeing us of today’s tethers and yet…. Those very tethers are how I make a living.

Hmm. How can one be completely free of all tethers, wander the land without worry about business/work and still make a living in these days?

Something I’ve pondered for a good while. Maybe in the writing answers will come?


While writing this a window curtain lifts and flutters from the cool night breeze.

It’s a reminder I am never alone in the embrace of Mother Nature.

_images/moonlight-over-land-between-lakes.jpegMoonlit night over Land Between the Lakes near camp


Later that evening I’m startled when I feel something bump the camper. It’s a bit unnerving because I cannot hear a thing.

Pulling curtain aside, I look out the window and see nothing in the strong moonlight. So I cautiously step out to investigate further and find a feral cat underneath the camper.

Shining the flashlight around I see glinting eyes of a coon or possum. Perhaps they were fleeing or playing with the cat, who knows?

That reminds me, I’ll have to share a story from the time I felt a nudge on my camper when cooking dinner and later found it was from a bear…


This may be a recurring theme but it’s worth repeating in the hopes somehow this energy resonates outwards and infects others to rethink their ways.

I’m seeing more and more trash around these campsites and natural areas — even the more remote places. It’s always been a problem but the intensity of it has increased post-covid.

It’s sad to see such careless ways mar nature’s beauty. She is a gift given to us only to be given the dirty finger.

So perplexing to see those connoisseurs of nature (especially fishermen - they are the worst, oddly) not give a shit.

September 19, 2023

8-28 Back in heaven, cafe intimacy, aliens on beach?

Woke up with a hung-over feeling even though I didn’t drink anything flammable. Neck is sore, must have slept on it wrong hence that head-achy-sore feeling.

And then I must have somehow twisted my ankle while packing up camp to move on so I’m limping like a frog around camp.

Aahh, the travails of a somewhat rugged lifestyle and a teeny tiny bit of aging…


At a local coffee shop (copious amounts of coffee always makes my headache go away) there was a middle aged couple near me engaged in intense eye-to-eye conversation (one I didn’t lip-read out of respect for their privacy).

When their conversation finished, both stood, embraced and held each other for a very long time in full view of all in the cafe.

Reconciliation? Or a sharing of deep wounds? Or maybe on the proper way to brew coffee?

Whatever the topic might have been, it was endearing and refreshing to see that kind of intimacy on full display. It is rarer to see these days.


After the fog lifted from my mind I decide to go ahead on over to Land Between the Lakes national recreation area for a few days of camping.

Much to my delight I found a beautiful and private primitive campsite right on the water at Nickell Branch backcountry camping area.

Steady cool breezes, wide views of the coast and serene waters.

No electricity, no water, no neighbors — just the way I like it. I’m in a slice of heaven yet again.



A nicely-dressed family pull up to the nearby boat ramp/beach with a professional photographer in tow (the excessive and heavy camera equipment gives it away) for what looks like a sunset family portrait session.

Seeing them brings back memories of often seeing the same thing on the beaches in Sarasota, Florida where I grew up.

Watching this family with their two kids frolic and pose in front of a hovering photographer, my mind begins to drift into their lives…

Are they indeed that joyfully picturesque sun-splashed family they’re portraying themselves to be?

Or when home do they siphon off into separate corners with phones and computers glued to their glowing faces? Do they argue often? Do they have dark secrets within?

Or are they the face of love represented vividly on the beach with lots of joy and soldiering on through life resolutely?

Or they’re aliens from a different plane masquerading as humans and enjoying themselves on a side-trip away from civilization with photos to send to home base in another galaxy?

Oh such a silly and sometimes sinister imagination I have.

Whatever they might be, a few minutes later as the last rays of the sun fade and cameras put away, their facade drops, charade ended as they pile into their Ford Expedition and fade out too.

September 19, 2023

8-27 Missing van campers, dancing with nature

Eureka campground, Kentucky

The weather changed from relentless sticky heat to relentless rain and chewy humidity. And yet I persist here because tomorrow is supposed to be dry and cool, giving time for everything to dry out before packing up for the road.


For some odd reason in just about all the van campers I’ve seen the owners stay holed up in their vans seemingly all day and night. I never see the occupants - if any indeed exist - and sometimes wonder if they’re alive inside.

Of course I am just one solitary observer but this happenstance persists across my travels.

To be fair, I can say the same for those on the other spectrum — those hulking big rig RVs that seemingly stretch half a city block. Those occupants are also seldom seen since they stay inside their palaces most of the time only to emerge to eat at local restaurants.

Really, they just bring their homes with them for a better view of nature.


My back feels much better now — walking and hiking always heals it up, aligning it back into place.

Gonna kayak out to a tiny island I see in the middle of the lake for even more solitude.

Islands have their own special vibe, especially tiny ones.


Tall trees swaying, leaves shivering, wind teasing…

It’s a beautiful dance that soothes my soul.

Breeze whistles into my hair and I know I’m part of nature’s dance — not just as a witness but also as a participant.

September 17, 2023
(click date for larger photo)
View from this evening’s campfire
View from this evening’s campfire
September 13, 2023
Tugboats and barges aplenty on Cumberland river in Kentucky. They run all day and night.
Tugboats and barges aplenty on Cumberland river in Kentucky. They run all day and night.
September 12, 2023

8-25 MacGuyvering elbow comfort, cheap toilet paper, beautiful synchronicity

Eureka campground, Kentucky

My elbows started aching from the hard plastic arms of the otherwise wonderful folding rocking chair I’ve had for quite some time.

Went to the local hardware store (it’s amazing how just about every little town has em!) and bought a short length of foam pipe insulation. Cut a couple arm’s length pieces out of it and popped it onto the chair’s arms.

Presto, instant comfort! Seems to work well so far.


I’ve wondered if being disconnected from the world meant I was escaping from it. I don’t think so… Because I’m from an era of land-line phones and letters sent in the mail.

It’s more of a going back to my roots of a slower, less insane paced world.

Moments of solitude are welcomed, invited, and easier without being constantly tethered to a world always clamoring for attention.


It might be a good idea for visitor center’s bathrooms to supply good quality toilet paper.

This one (which shall remain nameless) offered the cheapest kind with absolutely no traction to it so all it really does is push one’s shit around rather than actually wiping it off.

And it ends up being wasteful due to the need to use copious yardages of it to get it” all off.

Not a great impression to make when welcoming visitors to one’s town, hmm?


It’s supposed to hit 100F degrees today and indeed the early day is already sweltering, pelting me with ceaseless heat wrapped tight in a thick cellophane of sticky ass humidity.

Normally I’d be long gone from here (the make yer own weather thing) but my momentarily ailing back requires me to sit tight a bit longer and let it heal up.

As I’ve mentioned before most of the time it’s a matter of acclimating to whatever weather there is but in extremes like the past few days it’s insanity to stay when you one can easily move elsewhere.

Cranky, anyone? ; )


With a couple hours before dark I drove over to this Land Between the Lakes” national recreation area for a short hike into the sunset.

I somehow (it’s always somehow, right?) miss the trailhead and was about to make a u-turn back only to see a sign saying the road I’m on is one-way only. Pulled up the map to find it’s an eight mile roundtrip back to here.

Well, sheet.

May as well roll with it so I mosey onwards.

After a few miles I see a small pull-off with a trail snaking into the forest. Hmm, gonna pull over and try this one instead.

And what an unexpected delight this detour was!

The trail hugged a cliff-like coast off the lake; it brought back memories of Costa Rica’s sheer drop offs and vast waters below with sun rays shafting through tall trees.

A couple miles in the trail descended to a beachhead tucked at the edge of the forest complete with old fire rings and waves lapping at the edge. Perfect place to pause and soak in the shimmering glory of all that is.

A waning sun leads the way back, fading rays throwing marvelous patterns of orange across tree trunks and leaves.

This is what happens when perfect, beautiful synchronicity throws plans out the window and gives you something altogether better.




September 10, 2023

8-23 Missing trees, countryside roller coasters, Kentucky red-tide and identity crisis

Arrived at my new campsite at Eureka in the southwest corner of Kentucky only to find trees are missing so it was boiling under a heat-wave sun. Turns out the photo of the campsite when I made a reservation for it was quite old — where the photo showed trees there are now stumps.

Ooof (and another reason I dislike having to reserve campsites). At least I was able to switch to a different site further back where it’s shrouded by my beloved trees.


I love taking the less beaten road to wherever I’m going. Out here it’s akin to hopping on a lazy rollercoaster that meanders through countrysides and valleys and creeks, rivers, etc.

Those journeys induce a state of bliss as I take my sweet time rolling through green heaven.


Stopped by another Amish market. They’re always a delish delight to stumble upon. Bought some ground tumeric to try in my evening tea to sooth travel weary bones. Also had one of the best coffees I’ve had made by an Amish girl manning an old fashioned coffee machine.


Saw a solitary white Pelican floating by the water in front of camp, gulping dinner on the way. I haven’t seen one since I was last in Sarasota, Florida visiting mom.


Walking by the water I’m hit with a strong whiff of what smells like red-tide, bringing me back to Florida.

Looking around, there’s dead fish and jellyfish rotting on shore.

I ask the campground host about it. Her nose wrinkles and says its from all the dead fish dying from the extreme heat cooking the lake.

Wow. I certainly didn’t expect such a thing up here far from Florida.


This part of Kentucky (Grand Rivers, Lake City, etc) confuses me.

I can’t tell what it wants to be.

I see a mish-mash of industrial (quarries, coal trains, dams), vacation destination (a sprawling western themed restaurant that wants to be a mini-Dollywood, fancy resort state park), knock-off of Key West with a lighthouse, farms mixed in and lots of abandoned buildings/businesses with overgrown and neglected land scattered in between.

I’ve never seen such a bewildering mix of so many things in just a few miles. It’s as if the area is trying to find its identity and ends up being a jack of all trades.


Now that I’m writing more often, I find my fountain pen hand starting to ache and cramp a bit.

What an ancient-to-me dilemma to be in and one that I welcome.

There’s also the matter of typing all these notes in so it goes up on this here blog and I can’t seem to keep up with my furiously flowing pen.

Another wonderful problem to solve.

September 9, 2023
View from overlook bluff on Land Between Lakes near camp I visit to imbibe sunsets
View from overlook bluff on Land Between Lakes near camp I visit to imbibe sunsets
September 8, 2023

8-22 Coconut heels, heat wave, bye flies, coffee closed and sitting in dark

Applying coconut oil each morning and evening to cracked heels under my feet has been remarkably effective after a few days. Putting socks on for a bit gives the oil time to soak into your heel.


I find myself caught in a heat wave rolling through the area. Clouds hang low in the sky, forming a convection oven of sorts that holds the heat in. So we bake in the mid 90’s for a few days. Compared to my Florida, it’s not that bad, it just feels oppressive.

I had a strong mind to skip camp and move further north. We can change the weather” as us nomads like to say.

According to the heat maps, in this case it would be a ways to where it’s slightly cooler so it’s not worth the long, mad dash.

The heat wave will pass in a few days anyway. A key part of the wandering life is also to learn to acclimate to where you are and get used to it.

I have a few trees to shade in, a light breeze, and a very cool river to dunk in a couple times a day. I’ll manage.


There’s a murder of ravens who like to hang out in a tall tree across the river from my campsite. The adventure continues!


Flies have arrived in force. After swatting at a few I remembered the old country folk method of filling a small clear plastic bag with water and plopping a few pennies in it.

Thought I’d give it a try and hang it on my awning. It seems to work for the most part — way less flies now save for a brave soul or two that breech my watery defense.

I’m not sure of the science” behind it so it’s strange such a thing works. I’ll take that woo-woo!


Took an excursion to nearby Scottsville (KY) for a light lunch followed by a favorite activity of mine: Reading at a coffee cafe.

Made it to the lunch cafe only to find the interior dark and a closed sign despite posted hours saying otherwise.

Owell. I’ll mosey on over to the coffee joint across the street and grab a crossiant or sandwich along with my ritual afternoon coffee.

Nope. Closed. Handwritten sign says, Sorry! See you tomorrow!” Again despite their posted hours. Ugh. This time I’m a tad annoyed — it’s a damper to drive into town only to have caffeinated expectations rebuffed.

Undaunted - dammit I’m gonna get me coffee! - I jet over to nearby Bowling Green. They’ve gotta have an open cafe that honors their hours.

Bingo. There is one and they do not lie. I let out a long sigh of relief and settle in for a couple hours of reading and imbibing java.


One of my favorite things to do while camping is to sit outside as the sun falls and darkness slowly descends.

It’s when another world comes to life.

The river turns into a sheet of mist and pale moon inches out of hiding. Acrobatic bats dance through the sky gobbling mosquitos as they go. Deer n such emerge from dark trees to chow down for their evening meal on the fringes. And fireflies - what’s left of em - slowly blooping their way around me.

Mother Nature is such an incredibly wondrous manifestation of all life. She is life, indeed.

September 7, 2023
(click date for larger photo)
Love walking abandoned trails (cept fer chiggers n ticks). This one at Tailwater near Scottsville Kentucky
Love walking abandoned trails (cept fer chiggers n ticks). This one at Tailwater near Scottsville Kentucky
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An IndieWeb Webring 🕸💍 Along the Ray

An alien from a different plane wandering the universe in a tiny camper

Along the Ray

Somewhere on a river...

North American continent usually

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