Saturday, December 30, 2023

My Van Is Out Of The Shop


Big City - a Merle Haggard cover tune.


Finally, after 15 days, my van is out of the shop. But I was told by the shop that I have trouble coming from the brakes on the front axle. I just had new brakes put on the front end about three months ago. I am debating, should I take that up with the man that done that work.

I plan to spend the next few days cleaning the van and shopping for some parts I need for the side door. Also, I will drive to Clinton to check up on my sister. And, come Tuesday I will try to reset the VA appointments that I had to cancel to put my van in the shop. 


Monday, December 4, 2023

Making Plans On What To Do

Lucille's Roadhouse, Weatherford, OK.


If I can raise the $3,000 that is needed I plan to try to turn my Better World Media blog into a commercial blog that will be about my life's primary (other than family) interests of music, photography, travel, and writing. I plan to research and start a "subscriber" list for a minimal fee, try to sell the songs I have written, and rebuild a website for selling my photography. I am having trouble getting started on these things due to worrying about how to solve my problems in the first place. All I can do is take one problem at a time and try to solve it.

Well, over this past weekend, I have at least come to a conclusion about what to do for now. I am not sure how long it will last, but I will try to just let my van sit in the parking lot except for local emergency trips. I am afraid I may lose the whole rear axle if I try to use it any more than I absolutely have to. When I  first moved to this complex in 2011 I used the Red River Transportation company to get around town. It was okay back then, but not great. It seems to be a very non-reliable service, at best these days. And, Winter is not the best time to be afoot in Oklahoma.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

How Much Can One Man Take


Karma is a vicious woman. I think I am a personal example of someone who is experiencing her wrath. I was getting along just fine until November of 2019. That is when I left the home I was sharing with a friend out in Henderson, Nevada to return to Oklahoma to care for an ailing older sister who passed away in October of 2020. That has to be what made Karma mad at me. When I left Nevada I was on a list for a low-income apartment located in Boulder City, a beautiful little town just outside of the Las Vegas Valley. A week after I arrived back in Oklahoma that apartment complex called to offer me an apartment. When I left there I knew it would not be long before they called me, but my sister needed my help. I just did not think I would need to be in Oklahoma for as long as I have been here. But, I guess this is where it all started.

So, after my sister passed away I spent another few months fulfilling my apartment lease agreement, squaring away my sister's final business, and making ready to return to Nevada. This turned into a 2 years and 3 trips debacle. That is, I made 3 trips to Las Vegas and was unable to find a place to live due to (my belief) the changes that were brought on by The COVID PLANDEMIC. I will not dwell on these trips in this post. It will only deepen my depression and anger me again.

I guess I should explain that, while I do not like it I am considering trying a "Go Fund Me" page again. I tried using one for a week one time when my Ford van blew an engine. A new motor cost me $7000. Asking strangers for help does not suit my pride, and I was able to get a loan at my bank. So, I stopped it. But, two weeks after I left the shop with a new motor my van was rear ended while I was at a stop sign. I had saved about 2/3 of the $540 that was donated to my “GoFundMe” page. I had plans of paying back the money sent to my “GFM” to ease my mind and save my pride. But, that won’t happen now. After my trip to OKC for a VA doctor appointment this past Friday those plans will be put on hold. It turns out that I had to do a brake job on the front end of my fan.

This post was started several days ago, but not posted due to some things I had to figure out to see if I wanted to post about them. Except for the fact that I am now getting repairs done to my van only one thing has changed. Yesterday I received a call that may give me a chance to return to Nevada by the middle of December. It will depend on what rent, utilities, cable, and a few other things will cost me if I return now. Hopefully, I will be able to get this info in a couple of days.


Saturday, October 7, 2023

Updates - My now. My future.


The following posting completes a synopsis explaining what I now face and what my plans are. 


Somewhere along the way I got robbed, or did I just give it all away. I've worked my tail off all of my adult life to support 4 children and 2 x-wives. I missed almost all the holidays. birthdays and special family occasions. I worked for them and their future, not for my own. Now I am paying for it.

So, what do I do now?

I have repaired the a/c + heater system again, and repaired the back door. so a couple of my problems have been solved. Next up: (1) a brake job repair, (2) repair cruise control. (3) Replace cables in one side door. I will then have to decide whether to do a van build or get rid of this van.

So, what are my plans for the immediate future? I am doing no productive computer, photography, or music work. I have not given up on any of it though. I have stopped all projects to reduce stress in my life. I will go back to work when I feel I can do what I do without stressing out. I have learned that trying to work while dealing with my health issues simply causes more stress. Instead of working I plan to go fishing. And what are my plans for the years ahead? I am sitting still, dying of boredom, and becoming more depressed each day. With my present physical health problems it is not feasible to even hunt for a job.

I would give everything I own to be able to get back on the road as a trucker. But, I am still under a doctor's care for an eye surgery I had in April of last year. My doctor is now saying that my retina is damaged and cannot be repaired. And, I still have health problems from being on the road doing van life and trying to relocate back to Nevada from February of 2021 until November of 2022. I just do not have the stamina it takes for that job.

So, at the moment my only option is to sit still and save my money and rebuild what life I have. What I want is to eventually return to southern Nevada for several reasons: (1) I prefer the southern Nevada VA health care over what I have in Oklahoma. (2) I have good friends that I trust living there. (3) I have unfinished photography work there. (4) I want to base my future bucket list travels out of there. (5) There are always low and no-cost things to do there as long as I am physically able to do them. (6.) And, Nevada has better weather with less humidity. 

Yes, there has been a dry spell in my posting. My last post was on June 26. And, for the next few months, I expect to make very few, if any, posts. Instead, I plan to try to sit at home, save money, do some work on my van, and get ready for Spring weather for boon-docking in the Oklahoma and Texas area. I then hope to develop a website for travel photography during the Fall of 2024. Or, for the next few months of Winter, I will try to once again hibernate and save money for a springtime trip to Nevada, Arizona, and California. 

Late in 2009, I was forced into retirement. For 35 years I had worked 70 to 100+ hour weeks driving a truck day and night. If I was not driving I was, except for my last 5 years, loading or unloading my truck. A year later I was renting a room in Las Vegas from an 81-year-old woman. That was when I bought myself another guitar and spent most of my days practicing and learning to play again. That was also when I started writing songs. I now have at least 80 completed songs and 20 or more unfinished songs. But, with no transportation other than walking, a taxi or a metro bus, I soon found myself back in Oklahoma fishing and picking on my guitar, and starting another hobby in photography. Looking back, it wasn’t long until photography and the computer work involved was slowly edging out my guitar picking. But, I chose to do the camera work because I was experiencing a lot of short-term memory loss and cramping in my hands. I was having a hard time improving my music career.

I will skip now to Feb. of 2021. I had lived in the Las Vegas area two other times and returned to Oklahoma to care for an ailing sister. She passed away in October of 2020. Since then I have made three failed attempts to move back to Las Vegas to continue my photographic journey. The COVID pandemic and the influx of Californians moving there caused a lot of changes in Las Vegas. Plus, the apartment complex I wanted to move to was now managed by a man that I knew I could not get along with. I returned to Oklahoma, leased an apartment, and settled in, at least until November of this year. But, I have van repairs and a possible van build to make that will probably keep me here much longer.

This post pretty much describes where I am at this time in my life. I am slowly recovering from an illness that started not long after I left Oklahoma for my first failed attempt at returning to Nevada in 2021. As of today, I have finally finished one computer/photo project and I am ready to get some work done on my van before starting some weekend warrior van life work with my camera equipment. 

Yes, there has been a dry spell in my posting. My last post was on June 26, so it has been a few months. And, for the next two months, I expect to make very few if any, posts. Instead, I plan to try to sit at home, save money, do some work on my van, get back in decent health, and get ready for cooler weather for boon-docking in the Oklahoma and Texas areas. I hope to develop a website for travel photography during the Fall of 2023. Then, for the next few months of Winter, I will try to once again hibernate and save money for a springtime trip to Nevada, Arizona, and California. 

Many years ago I had a choice. I could stay where I was or leave. Alcohol had already ruined my life. My biggest fear was that I would physically hurt my family before I committed suicide. Even after I left I fought the urge to commit suicide and alcoholism for years. The two good things about my second marriage were two more children and saving me from suicide.

It is in my prayers that before I die I can return to live in or near the Las Vegas Valley. It is where my friends are. The VA Hospital is there. The Southern Nevada Veterans Home is there if I live long enough to use it and can qualify. I am not a gambler but I enjoy walking The Strip, Fremont Street, and the outlying casinos. I have more than two years of experience in photographing community, regional, state, and national parks in southern Nevada. And, I hope to continue my camera work there. Places to dine and drink are abundant and forever changing. And mostly, I love the desert. This is where I hope to live and die.

Monday, May 15, 2023

A Career in Over-the-Road Trucking (1974 - 2009)


Coming into Barstow, California from Las Vegas, NV.


This is a copy of one of the posts in my original blog, "Better World Trucking". It may be out of date, and trucking has changed over the years. but I hope you enjoy reading it.

Are you right for this challenging career?

By Keith Birmingham

Once again I have been asked if I would recommend trucking as a career. So, I thought I would post a little of what I think about the industry that fed and sheltered me for 35 years. I can only write about what it is like for me to be an over-the-road trucker.

I was a student, home on spring break from Oklahoma State University. My brother-in-law and I were in his front yard enjoying a cold beer, and talking about me trying to find work in a college town when a man that had bought a truck off Keith (my brother-in-law) drove the truck into the yard and up to the house. The man climbed out of the truck, and tossed the keys to Keith. “I can’t make the payments,“ is all he said as he turned around and walked off.

We were both quiet as the man walked back out to the highway and turned toward home. Finally, Keith (my brother-in-law) turned to me and asked “Ya wanna drive a truck?”

I sipped on my beer and replied, “Might as well.” After spending a few minutes checking over his truck we climbed in and drove out of town 6 or 8 miles. Keith drove out. I drove back - bobtail. That was the extent of my schooling in the trucking industry. From then on it was the University of Hard Knocks. 

That night I studied the Oklahoma driver’s manual my sister had used to get her license. The next morning we drove to Elk City, the only town in western Oklahoma where I could take a test that day. Two hours later I had a commercial driver’s license. (No, CDL was not in effect at that time.) The next day we drove to Dallas and signed on with B.F. Walker, Inc., a now out-of-business trucking outfit that specialized in oil field trucking. Of course, I intended to return to college after I had made the big money for a year. And, of course, the money was there “if” I put in the miles. But, of course, more money meant more buying and more debt. Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.

When I started in the industry lumping (loading or unloading the truck) was largely left up to the driver, but has been slowly and thankfully disappearing in the industry. When I retired back in 2009 I had not touched a load in the last 5 years of my career. I was often given the task of hiring and paying a lumper but was paid back by the career. The major percentage of trucking jobs do not pay an hourly wage. You are paid by the mile, or by the percentage of what the load pays the carrier that is your employer. So, where are the problems in this system? The problem with this system is the time you spend at the shippers and receivers dock and the other necessary duties that the driver is required to perform, such as securing the load, truck maintenance, and taking care of yourself. After what can easily be twenty or more hours per week of unpaid work the driver still has to make miles to earn money. Although it has improved for some segments of the industry (or at least for some companies) it is not uncommon to spend several hours at docks for shippers and receivers who show no respect for the truck driver. And, if your employer does not collect detention pay you don’t get paid for those hours. Some carriers will collect detention pay, but will not pay the driver for that detention. Grocery warehouses are especially bad about this misuse and mistreatment of truck drivers, but it goes on throughout the industry. And, competition for freight keeps most companies from demanding detention pay. It is that simple. This is also one of the reasons I worked for my last carrier, and will probably no longer drive. I seldom bumped the docks of grocery warehouses with my last employer. 

In recent years carriers are finding that in order to keep a driver on their trucks they must offer incentives such as increased pay for extra partial load drops, higher tarp pay, detention pay for being at a shipper or receiver longer than (usually) two hours. Many companies have perks such as insurance plans and 401k plans, and some have special employees whose job is to help you plan for the future for you and your family. These perks are nice if you can get them. I have never seen them. I stopped pulling open container (flatbed) trailers because of low and no-pay tarp pay. I have never seen a dime in detention pay. And, I don’t want the people I work for putting their noses into my family business.

Now, here are some personality traits that are very important to succeeding as a truck driver:
1.) You need to be self-reliant. There will be many times that you will be faced with taking care of business that should have been taken care of by other people. 
2.) You need to be comfortable with being alone for very long periods of time. Your social life will suffer.
3.) You need to be good at managing your money, or you will end up broke long before payday.
4.) Good communication skills and a good attitude is the most important tributes a driver can bring to their career
5.) Probably most important, you need to be a self-starter. If you need a nanny to wake you up in the morning, do yourself a favor, and stay at home with the nanny.

I have had a love/hate relationship with the trucking industry since 1974. I truly believe that the only difference between one company and the next is the physical address and the phone numbers. Many fleet owners would like to think that they will always treat their employees better than anyone else. The fact is that after a person invests large sums of money in equipment and in their drivers, many times it is the truck drivers that will screw over their employers. The employers become bitter toward drivers, and drivers become bitter toward employers. And, that is just the way it is.

When a person asks me if I would recommend trucking as a career I will  ask: “Are you married?” If they answer yes I ask them one more question: “Do you want to stay married?” Your spouse and your children need to fully understand that your career will require major, major, major sacrifices by them. You will miss the holidays. You will miss birthdays. And, you will miss anniversaries. And, your social life will often seem like it is null and void.

And, other than spending time with my family, playing music, working on my photography, and writing - there is nothing I would rather do than drive a truck. 

My name is Keith Birmingham. I am an Oklahoma/Nevada-based photographer, writer, and webmaster with a growing catalog of industrial, lifestyle, and nature photography. I am in the process of revamping my online photography business and have no personal website at this time. I do have around 1000 photos for sale/lease through ( Adobe Stock. If you use articles written by Keith Birmingham for any kind of publication you must include this resource box with the article. For details please contact Keith Birmingham at

Sunday, May 14, 2023

A Rainey Day


A Rainy Day - Written and performed by Keith Birmingham


This post is a simple reminder to me that everyone makes mistakes, and I seem to make more than most other people do. Fact: I had one of my best posts ever until just a few minutes ago, and I accidentally deleted it while searching for a video to post with it. I will try to write an even better one for next week.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.13

I believe I have the money to buy my a/c blower motor but I am trying to put that repair off until the last of this month. Yes, the weather is getting warmer, but I am trying to stay ahead money-wise just in case something unplanned happens.


Well, two days ago I received some medical advice that will cut this post short and slow my productivity down for a while. My eye doctor suggested that it may help if I stop my computer work for a while to relieve tension. I have actually been slowing down on this for a few weeks, and doing very little photography work as staring at a computer screen has become a very irritable exercise. I have been thinking about this for the past couple of days and I have decided to give it a try. So, my postings may slow down for now. Instead, in order to stay somewhat busy I will spend more time on my music.

I want to start posting some of my plans to describe how I hope to keep doing a van life, but on a part-time basis for now, while getting prepared to go full-time in the future if needed to do my work in photography and music. The past three years of living part-time in my van have shown me that I am on a huge learning curve. I am lucky that 35 years of my life were spent on the road as a trucker. I have already learned the fundamentals of surviving with the minimum. But, the most important thing that I have learned is that I will need to maintain base camp to be able to do my work. That base camp can be a storage or a normal home or apartment. I hope to be able to keep an apartment. 

I am not yet sure whether I will do a van build on the van I now have or just keep using portable equipment like I have done for the past three years. For now, I plan to stay with the portable equipment while I make repairs on my van that have become necessary with the advanced age of my van. The following is a short list of needed repairs: (1) I plan to try to hold off until the end of May to replace the a/c blower motor. This will depend on how much traveling I do and how hot the weather gets. I could do it now but I want to hold on to the money for any emergency that arises. (2) I need to replace the cables for the latches in one of my rear doors and one of my side doors. (3) Electrical problems now consist of cruise control repairs. Other than these three items my van is in decent shape.


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.12

Winter is over. Spring has sprung. It is the last week of April, and the last week of weather that is too cold for my old body to be working outside. The past three years has pushed me 10+ years closer to my grave.

I have started making much needed repairs to my Bucket List Buggy. When I moved into my apartment almost 5 months ago Winter was blowing in and I was sick, tired, and weak. I was looking forward to hibernating through the Oklahoma winter. My van was in reasonably good shape. Now, not so much. Well, mechanically, it seems to be fine, but one side door and one rear door has needed latch replacement work for 2 or 3 months. And, just last week the blower motor went out on my a/c and heater system. The blower motor has become my top priority.

On Friday, May 5th I will take a trip to the DEAM McGee eye institute in OKC. It is a routine checkup. Hopefully, it will be my last trip there. Then, I will head to the VA Hospital to complain that my vision is still terrible and that I want a surgery to remove the excess skin on my eyelids. And, maybe get another pair of glasses. Hopefully, that will help. Today I removed the seats and bench from the back of my van. Tomorrow I will load it with some camping gear in case I decide to stay in OKC overnight. It looks like crap but will be better than renting a motel room.


Saturday, April 22, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.11

What led to my interest in living a van life? Well, to start with, my interest in travel drove me to buy a van in the first place. I had previously traveled for 35 years as an over-the-road trucker. I have seen a lot of this country and a little of Canada. But, I was simply driving through places. Time constraints never allowed me to stop, explore, and really get to know the country I drove through. 

But, that all changed after the elections of November of 2019. The direction this country was going totally changed, and I knew things were going to get much worse. I was now glad that I at least would have a roof of some kind over my head as long as I could meet payments on my van.

My biggest fear when starting to prepare for living in a van has turned out to be the headache that I feared. I could not afford a newer van. Mine, at the time of purchase, was 17 years old. It is now 21 years old. I have a lot of maintenance and repairs ahead of me. But, the age of the van would be only part of my problems. I had to put a new $7k motor in the van last year. And, two months later I was rear-ended at a stop sign. Another $7k in repairs.

So, after 4 years why am I not living in my van. Well, it is family matters, bad luck, truck repairs, financial troubles, health issues, and lessons learned that have me living in a senior citizen's apartment complex today. I won’t dwell on it in this blog. But, much of 2021 and 2022 was spent living in my van. And now, today, I still get the urge to hit the road.

My Bucket List Buggy.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

King of the Road

Bucket List Buggy

King of the Road - a Roger Miller original tune.  

Dreams Die Hard.10

Flag of The 46th State and Old Glory

My vision makes it very hard to read or write. I cannot be sure my photo editing is any good. Two pairs of glasses have both been the wrong prescription. The doctors say they can’t do anything for me. So, what do I do now?

I have been back in my own apartment now for 5.5 months. It is not necessarily where I want to be, but for now, it will allow me to accomplish some things that need to be done and reflect on what I can do if I can no longer do my photography, music, and travel.

For almost half of my 13 years of retirement from the mostly over-the-road trucking industry, I have lived in the Las Vegas Valley in Nevada. I love the city. There is always something to do. There is always a new place to eat. But, I am not a gambling fanatic. I have never played a table game. I will put a few bucks into the slots, but win or lose I spend very little time on them. What I love most about the city is the mountains around the city and the wildlife and nature that is there. And, I would be there now if I could.

But, I believe I am in Oklahoma for several reasons and I am working to achieve them. I will be better prepared for my next time to van life.

The Nevada State Flag


Friday, April 7, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.9


It is the first week of April. I am on a 12-month lease on this apartment with eight months to go. I am trying to tell myself that living here is not that bad, and it really isn’t. But, it would be much easier for me to live here if I was financially and physically able to travel. As it is, I expect to be tormented with a need to “go” for the next eight months if not for much longer. 

I am trying to decide what to do with my van. Putting a $6000+ engine in it last year, and getting rear-ended less than 3 months later has put a heavy strain on my financial situation. Plus, I blew the insurance money I received to fix the van on 3 of my 5 attempts to relocate to southern Nevada. And, I have several small repairs to make just to keep it on the road.

Temptation is rather hard to deal with at this time for me. I know it would be best for me to wait to do any kind of van build at this time. I am doing ok with that for now. I want to fix a couple of current electrical issues first. Then I think I need to save a little nest egg to take care of major issues that are bound to come up. I am trying to hold off on any type of van build until my banknote on the van gets lower. Then I can make up my mind whether I want to even keep it or trade it in for something that will make a better RV for me. Or, will I be able to forget about living on the road again? I doubt I will be able to do that.


Friday, March 31, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.8

Hope and faith are the two things that keep me going. When you make as many stupid mistakes in life as I have hope and faith is all that keeps you alive. Admittedly, hoping that I could do things is probably what got me into trouble. But, hope is also what gave me the guts to even try to do some of the things I have done. My faith in God has always given me faith in myself. My faith in God has always given me hope.

I was an over the road trucker for 35 years. You would think that I have had enough of the traveling life. But, truckers will say that once trucking is in your blood you will always be a trucker. After 35 years of driving past, through, or near things that I did not have time to stop and see, I want to find out what I have missed. 

But, my health, age and income has raised a barrier that I may never be able to cross. It is now 2023. I am 74 years old. In 2002 I had a quadruple heart bypass surgery. In 2009 I had to retire for physical health reasons. 

To cut this episode short my future plans are simple and as follows: warmer weather is just around the corner. Spring has sprung, trees are starting to bloom, and birds are more active. I am doing much needed minor repairs on my van. On April 25 I will be in Oklahoma City for a doctor appointment. I hope to stay in OKC for a couple of days at work with my camera. I have already moved out of hibernation and hope to be shooting photos in state parks soon. Hopefully, I will get chances to meet people using the camp grounds and photograph them and their equipment. I should probably start with places in western Oklahoma.


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.7

Photographing the community parks soon led to a desire to explore more of what Nevada has to offer. I soon began to venture outside of the valley and I read all I could about parks and camping. I realized that I was smack in the middle of some of the best BLM campgrounds in the entire country. And, I began to understand that although I had a small circle of friends I was not a people person. I had actually been a loner most of my life. Solitude was my best friend.

At the same time that all of my photography ideas were swimming around in my head the desire to travel led me to hunt for a vehicle to travel and camp in. I wound up with the conversion van I now have. I figured it would suit me fine. I was wrong, but what I had was better than being homeless.


Life happens, and lessons are learned along the way. I now know that my back will not allow me to do a full-time van life in a vehicle I cannot stand upright in. I have also learned that when living off-grid it is impossible to stay healthy without the right equipment. In a 2-year period, I lost 40+ pounds and was so sick and weak that I could hardly get around. I loved the van life. I just was not physically fit to do it.

So, I am now back to living in an apartment, trying to rebuild my photography website, making some repairs and changes to my van, and planning for what will be the best way for me to get back on the road.

Looking south into Death Valley from


Thursday, March 16, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.6

Las Vegas Blvd. at Tropicana Ave.
Yes, I will feed the slots in Vegas. But, I am too cheap to call myself an avid gambler. Luckily, I got shed of the gambling bug on my second WESPAC cruise back in 1971. About halfway thru the cruise, I started loaning money to other gamblers instead of shooting craps and playing poker. That was much more lucrative.

So, why Las Vegas? I was born and raised in a small town in Western Oklahoma and still prefer the open country. But,the only things, still, that there is to do in small-town America are fish, hunt, play baseball, football, or basketball, andget drunk. After that, life is boring in a small town. The lights of the city are a natural calling card for anyone who is bored of the life they live. So, once I entered the over-the-road trucking industry in 1974 it was no wonder that I was impressed with every city that I traveled through, especially Las Vegas. I was captivated on my first visit to this city by the lights coming on at sundown. The people, casinos, shops, and just the street scene, well, I guess I fell in love with the city on my first walk down The Strip.  I guess I left my heart in Las Vegas on my first visit.

I spent several days and nights in Las Vegas over the years, but it was 22 years later that I made my first attempt to live there. It was during the aftermath of my second divorce that I moved to Las Vegas. I had spent 8 months attending a vo-tech school learning to run a printer. I found a job my first full day in Las Vegas, but that job only lasted less than two months. I got nervous when I could not find another job in a short time and headed back to Oklahoma, and I was back on the road driving truck again. It was 16 years later when I retired from my trucking career before I made my second attempt to live in Las Vegas. Since then I have actually lived in the Las Vegas Valley a total of three times in the past 12 years. Each time that I returned to Oklahoma was due to a family situation. Once the problem was solved at home I was soon on my way back to the Las Vegas Valley. I have now been in Oklahoma since November 2019.

It was in May of 2021 that I made my last move to live in Las Vegas. About a week after I arrived I went for a drive and wound up stopping and climbing a small mountain up City View Trail. (You can read an article I wrote about my climb of City View Trail here.) And, this was the beginning of my photographic project and my desire to live in my van to travel and photograph as many national, state, regional, and community parks as I possibly could. It was also another beginning of my learning about myself.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.5


These days I worry a lot about whether I can save or earn the money to do what I want and need to do. At my age, 74, I have a lot of physical and medical issues that will keep me out of the workforce. I have spent a huge amount of my adulthood as a truck driver. I have injuries that include a deteriorating spine and I have recently had eye surgery that now seems to point to the fact that my vision will never return to 100% in my left eye. Right now it seems that my vision in my left eye is at about 50% of normal on good days. And, it seems I also have some problems with short-term memory loss. So, how do I hope to deal with these issues and do what I want and need to do?

Imagine you were a college basketball player that dreamed of turning pro. Imagine you had spent 4 years leading your team to the national championships every year. How would you feel if, when the time came and you were offered a contract, you were driving to meet the people and sign a contract and you were involved in a car crash and woke up in a hospital with only one leg?

It was actually a lifelong dream of mine to become a professional photographer. I will not dwell on the many times, years, and attempts I made to just begin working toward this dream. But, in 2009 I retired from a 35-year career as a truck driver due to health issues. In 2012 I relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, and spent several months just exploring the city. In 2013 I moved back to Oklahoma, took the plunge, bought some camera equipment, and began shooting at a local park, shooting local sports and other events. In 2015 I lost 140k photo files due to a computer glitch. I have saved the hard drive from that computer and hope to find someone who can find those files on that drive and save them for me. In 2017 I returned to Las Vegas and began shooting on a project that I had become interested in and pushed me to get out and walk for exercise several times a week. I began shooting community, regional, state, and national parks in and near the Las Vegas Valley. Plus, I started getting interested in trying to live in my van, travel, camp, and photograph every park that I could.

Since 2012 I have lived in the Las Vegas Valley three times for approximately 6 years, returning to Oklahoma only for family reasons. I have tried to relocate to the LVV three times since late February of 2021. When the pandemic struck in Las Vegas it appears to me that the LVV housing market went bonkers. I have spent over $6k in these three efforts to no avail.

My next posting I will talk about why I want to return to the Las Vegas Valley. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.4


While I am looking toward what will probably be a long hot summer in Oklahoma for me I am also looking forward to being able to save the money to relocate back to southern Nevada. When I first moved into my apartment 4.5 months ago I accepted the fact that I might have to take 1.5 years or more to accomplish what I need to do before heading west again. Meanwhile, I have a lot of computer work ahead of me.

So, why southern Nevada? Southern Nevada is not my 1st choice, but it is my best choice. Southern Nevada is actually central to the parts of this country that I most want to photograph. And, I already have almost 4 years of a photography project working there, with at least two more years of work left on this project. My work involves photographing parks, preserves, trails, memorials, monuments, and museums. and wildlife. Southern Nevada is where my friends live. Southern Nevada is largely BLM land, campers paradise. I love the southern Nevada weather. But, I cannot afford to live in my first choice, southern California, specifically around Oceanside, California.

All photographs in this article are samples of my work in Southern Nevada.


Saturday, March 4, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.3


The Bare Minimum: Jackery 240, Jackery 500, and a Jackery 100 watt solar panel. I also have a Predator 2000 Inverter.


In the past 3 years, sometimes out of necessity but often thru my own desires, I have spent around 30% of my time living in my van. The time in my van, more or less, was a test to see if I wanted to live in my van on a permanent basis or not. I like the life. Currently, my body doesn’t agree with me, but I can be a weekend warrior. And, when Spring arrives I hope to be doing just that.

As a weekend warrior I need enough room in my van for a minimum of clothes, a bed and blankets, storage for food, my laptop, my camera equipment, and my guitar. With this stuff, and a few tools for minor repairs, I am set for a 2 to 4 day outing. I can camp at a fishing hole or pull into a truck stop for the night.

BUT, my plans for the future is that, if I can produce the income, I am currently thinking of either buying a small RV or a pickup truck and small travel trailer. I still have a dream of living rather long lengths of time off grid. Dreams Die Hard.


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Madeira Canyon Park, Henderson, NV.

 My visit to City View Park was 4 days behind me before I had the strength to head out for another adventure. But, that was four days of admiring the views of photos I had taken from the top of that hill. And, I started wanting more.

Just below Black Mountain is Madeira Canyon Park, one of the most beautiful examples of a community park I have ever seen. Gambling and the nightlife draw millions of people yearly visitors to this valley, but the views of the Las Vegas Valley and the mountains surrounding the valley are what made me fall in love with life in the Las Vegas Valley.

Amenities for the park include baseball and softball fields, basketball courts, walking trails, tennis courts, picnic shelters, barbeque pits, picnic shelters and tables, a playground, splash pads, restrooms, family atmosphere, and fantastic views.
Find your way to the park via Maps or Google Maps to:
Address: 2390 Democracy Dr, Henderson, NV 89044


Saturday, February 25, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.2

Short Term Plans

Looking at how bad my finances have become, the condition of my transportation, and how bad my health has gotten over the past two years, I believe it will take every bit of a year, maybe 15+ months to get things done that need to be worked on. 

Also, I have decided that if I keep doing my photography I will need to do things differently. My Adobe Stock site is still leasing photographs almost every week, but there is just not much money in micro-stock. Most of what is being leased from my Adobe Stoke site are photos of community parks in the Las Vegas Valley. where most of my work has been done. Some of my work in Oklahoma is also leasing. I am planning to add another photo specialty to broaden my market. Meanwhile, I am writing articles to go with the subjects I have already photographed for use in marketing them. And, maybe someday I can get back to the Las Vegas Valley to shoot more parks.

My Bucket List Buggy
My van blew its motor on my birthday in January of 2022. Replacing it cost me $6,000. A few month's my van was rear-ended while I was sitting still at a stop sign. My insurance paid me $6,000 to fix the damage. But, I chose to spend that money on 3 more (I had already made 2 attempts to do this.) attempts to resettle in Las Vegas Valley where most of my photo work is waiting. Yeah, sometimes I don't make the best decisions. But, I still have my van, love my van, and hope to find a way to make the money to rebuild it or replace it with a larger RV. So, now I have no choice but to live where I now live, try to get healthy, and rebuild my financial situation. It all takes time. Time is all I have.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Will I Give Up

18-year-old me.


I should be getting new glasses via the VA within a week or so. I will not be doing much photography and computer work until then. If they do not help me, that is, if I cannot work easier and better with my new glasses I am pretty sure I will give up the work I have been doing for the past 12+ years. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Dreams Die Hard.1


Bucket List Buggy

I am posting these “Dreams Die Hard” posts in the hopes that other wanna be van lifers will learn from my mistakes. And, as a review so that I can learn from my mistakes. 

The last week of February 2021 was a game-changer in my life. That is when I left my home in Weatherford, Oklahoma to relocate once again to the Las Vegas Valley. The fact is, I have lived in the LVV for about six of the thirteen years of my retirement from the trucking industry. But, I had returned to Oklahoma to care for an ailing sister that has since passed away. I am still glad that I was able to come back and help my sister and I hate that she is gone, but my time in Oklahoma since her passing has been a mess, to say the least. 

Since February of 2021, I have made five trips to the Las Vegas Valley in failed attempts at finding a place to live. I blame my failures on the Covid Plandemic. (Yes, I am still convinced that it was a planned event that was managed terribly by a corrupt government.) This entire country, Southern Nevada included, lost its sanity during that event. It seems that everyone in the LVV went into a constant state of panic. On each trip, I had made arrangements beforehand with people that were looking to rent homes or just a room to share. Each person seemed reasonable before I got there, and I had good references. But, they all turned into false failed hopes. And, I wound up moving back into the very same apartment that I had left in February 2021. And, I may be here for the rest of my life. But, not necessarily. I am on a one-year lease until November of 2023. That gives me some time to get back on my feet, update and rebuild my transportation, and make preparations to live the life that I hope for.

My 35 years in the trucking industry have made a permanent drifter out of me. I have an urgent need to be somewhere besides where I am. But, I have things to do to be better prepared for the lifestyle that I want to build. Between all of my trips to the LVV a few things happened that destroyed my finances, and the trips out west were very hard on my health. I am doing all I know to do to rebuild my health. And, there are five people that helped me monetarily that I plan to start paying back soon. They may not expect payback, but I expect it of myself. They helped me when my van was re-ended and I had nowhere else to turn.

There is much more to this insane story that I am not of a mind to share at this time. I will say that I plan to do more traveling, and I may still return to southern Nevada to live someday in the future. I will post more about why I want to return to Nevada in future blogs. For now, it is time to fix some breakfast.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Putting Together the Building Blocks

Music*Photography*Travel*Writing: What I do. Who I yam. 
Loving Her Was Easier

It has been a long time coming. Many times I considered giving up the struggle because I just could not figure out how to put things together. I have gone through several company name changes. I have changed photographic specialties to fit my own personality. I have struggled to define exactly what it is I want to accomplish. And, I think I am finally closing in on a way to get the job done.

Better World Media is the primary blog for a growing list of blogs that separate each of my life's passions. BWM is also the foundation for what I hope will be a future media corporation, and a legacy for my family.

By the Spring of 2024 I plan to relocate back to southern Nevada. I plan to spend the next months working with each of my enterprises to prepare them for the direction I plan to take them once this relocation is made. I have been working for the past ten years in photography and music to learn skills that I believe will help me bring every part of BWM together to achieve my goal of multiple incomes. I plan to write articles and work with photography as I travel to perform as a busker. And, since my travels will often land me in many truck stops along the way, and since I have a previous 35 year career in the trucking industry, it seems only fitting that photographing and writing for and about the trucking industry would be included in my plans. It also seems to be the logical and best way to enjoy my life while living in my van. And, I believe these enterprises have a good chance of being of interest to my children and grandchildren.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Allegro Park, Henderson, NV.


This is a small but well-maintained neighborhood park that, although it appears not to be listed as part of the Seven Hills Trails system, seems to me like the actual start of the trail that is an easily walked trail from the park south to the three parks connected by the Seven Hills Trail connects.


Allegro Park is located next to an elementary school and sits behind the offices of a Robert's Realty  company. To travel to the park, and on to the parks of Seven Hills Trail simply follow St. Rose Parkway from I-215 going south, or from I-15 going north to Seven Hills Drive. Turn south on Seven Hills Drive and travel about 2 miles to 1023 Seven Hills Drive.

This is a small and not very busy park. I have stopped there 3 or 4 times and have seen no more than one person. But, it is well maintained, and scenic park with a great walking path from the playground down to a pathway leading south toward Seven Hills Trail.
Children's playground, restrooms, picnic area, barbeque pits, large open grass area

As I mentioned before, I consider this park to be a good start for those who want to explore the Seven Hills Trail and three beautiful, well-maintained, and scenic parks. I am now rebuilding my website. It will contain galleries of all of the parks and include photos from the trail that connects them. You will receive notice when the website is up and running again. Thank your for visiting and reading my blog.


Saturday, February 4, 2023

Slightly Battered and Abused


When I awoke this morning I had but one thing to do before I planned to sit down and write a blog about a Las Vegas Valley community park. All I had to do was go buy some groceries. And, I did that. But, although I did look up some info that I wanted to include in an article about Madeira Canyon Park in Henderson,  that was the end of my plans. I decided I would do that article later on. Instead, I now plan to write about Seven Hills Trail, a 2.7-mile loop that connects three community parks in Henderson, Nevada. But, due to interruptions from neighbors and other people, it will have to wait until tomorrow.


Music heals a broken body.

This song was written on May 2, 2013, by me and recorded soon thereafter. At the time I was living in Las Vegas and recovering from ill health due to over-work, no sleep, and the end of my second marriage. My occupation as an over-the-road trucker allowed me plenty of hours of listening to the radio as I drove, and drove, and drove. I fell into the habit of listening to classic rock and classic country. In November of 2009, I retired from trucking, moved to Las Vegas, bought a guitar and some camera equipment and the rest is history. Music and photography helped heal the wounds of years of abuse to my body.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum

The Oklahoma City National Memorial is a memorial on the grounds of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK. honoring all who were affected by the homegrown terrorist attack of Timothy McVeigh on April 19, 1995. The memorial is located on NW 5th Street between N. Robinson Ave. and N. Harvey Avenue.
The outside of each gate bears this inscription:
We come here to remember Those who were killed, those who survived, and those who changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope, and serenity.
This Memorial has an average of 350,000 visitors per year. The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial sits on just over 3 acres and consists of the following segments and is accessible day or night.
The Gates of Time: The moment before the blast was 09:01 and is inscribed on the east gate representing the last moments of peace. while 09:03 is inscribed on the west gate to represent the first moments of recovery. are inscribed on the interior of the monument. Between the Gates of Time is a Reflecting Pool.
Other segments of the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial include the Field of Empty Chairs representing the 168 lives lost, the Survivors Wall consisting of several panels of granite from the Alfred P. Murrah Building with the names of survivors of the blast, the Survivor Tree, which is an American Elm that was heavily damaged by the bombing. The Rescuer's Orchard represents the rescuers who came to the aid of the survivors; hence the Rescuers' Orchard surrounds the survivor tree. The Memorial Fence: where visitors' mementos are periodically collected, cataloged, and stored. The trees represent the rescuers who came to the aid of the survivors; hence the Rescuers' Orchard surrounds the survivor tree. The non-native species represent those rescuers who came from outside Oklahoma to help. The Children's Area: is north of the 9:03 gate, on the west side of the museum. Momentos from all over North America can be found there. North of the memorial is the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum, featuring artifacts and other exhibits related to the bombing. Jesus Wept: a sculpture of Jesus stands across the street from the west gate. Jesus faces away from the devastation, covering his face with his hand.
This memorial is one that will live in your mind forever. I have visited here many times. I will be back again and again.
Comments are welcome.