FORT COLLINS, COLORADO – Greetings from Fort Collins, Colorado…
My family and I are zigzagging our way around America with a tent, a camp stove, and some sleeping bags. We’ve been on the road for two months. We’ve still got several more months of this tour ahead of us…
This weekend, we drove from Casper, Wyoming, to Fort Collins, Colorado.
We’ll be hanging out here with our old friend and colleague, Dan Denning (coauthor of The Bonner-Denning Letter), for a few days…
We always take backroads. Never freeways. Here we are somewhere in Wyoming…
Somewhere in Wyoming
Home of the “Big Boys”
Before we left for Colorado, we checked out some of Wyoming’s railroad landmarks. (As regular Postcards readers know, we love trains in this family.)
Union Pacific’s Transcontinental mainline runs through southern Wyoming on its way to San Francisco from Chicago.
It crosses the continental divide in Wyoming to avoid the rocky and impenetrable mountains of Colorado. (This part of Wyoming looks more like a high altitude prairie and is a much easier route for trains.)
Here we are in Laramie, watching a mixed freight head east…
Just miles away from the most famous railroading hill
A few miles from here is the most famous hill in railroading – Sherman Hill. It’s so long and steep, back in the steam age, Union Pacific used specialist locomotives to haul trains up it.
These locomotives were called “Big Boys” and they were the heaviest steam locomotives ever built.
– Tom Dyson
P.S. We spoke to my mother this weekend. A nurse has been living with her full-time since last week. She’s feeling much better. Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes following Friday’s mailbag.
P.P.S. On Friday, gold closed at a new all-time high for the first time since 2011. It’s great news for the Dow-to-Gold trade we’ve been tracking in these Postcards (sell stocks, buy gold). Tomorrow, I’ll show you three charts that validate our thesis that the Dow-to-Gold ratio is headed 60% lower from here (if you’re new to these Postcards, I explain that thesis in detail in this video presentation)…
Difficult health news from Tom’s father today, whom Tom visited with in Baltimore back in February…
Comment from Tom’s father in Mamaroneck, New York: Bad news on the health front, which I am sorry to have to share with you. But you will want to be informed and I love having you to share the good and the bad with. I have a tough battle ahead.
The tumor on my nose is now diagnosed (no pun intended) as melanoma, which is dangerous and often fatal. They remove melanoma surgically with a lot of spare margin to ensure none is left behind. They will have to remove part of my nose to achieve that and rebuild it afterwards. If they capture all the melanoma, that would be good. If it has already spread, I will need chemo and radiation. I go shortly for a CAT Scan to see if it has spread, and again on the day of surgery. I think August and September will be challenging months, but I know I have your support (love you for that) and friends nearby who will help. This is my fifth cancer and I have always won the battle. This no different. I am in good heart, happy, at peace, and ready to confront the next challenge. Ready for a cold beer in this challenging heatwave, too.
Meanwhile, other readers suggest more travel destinations for the Dyson family… offer their own gold stories… and one echoes Tom’s inflation prediction…
Reader comment: Thanks for the tips on gold. I enjoy reading your input on where we are as a global society. Maroon Bells in Colorado is amazingly beautiful. They’ll make you take a short bus ride there, but it’s worth going! I highly recommend Glacier National Park in Montana as well. It was on fire last time I was there… so I couldn’t fully explore the park. But I managed to have a wonderful time there anyway. I hiked up and spent the sunset here at Hidden Lake Overlook. (It was cold.)
Also, watch for bears if you go to Grand Teton National Park after Yellowstone. I walked up on a large black bear by accident right on a walking trail. The bear was just a big ole silly billy and we were mutually terrified of each other, but still, I learned to keep my bear spray accessible. Haha.
Reader comment: Back in the late ’70s when gold saw its first real market surge, I bought a position in both gold and silver. In those days, like today, folks thought the price would go to the moon. As a young guy, I thought it prudent to hold that position and secure a piece of my future. As you know, the late ’70s brought high interest rates for borrowers and wonderful returns for certificate holders. I held my metals position through many price swings (mostly down) until the resurgence after 2000. My resulting 20-year return was mediocre. In hindsight, I would have profited better from other investments of the time. All the best during your travels. We love reading about your experiences.
Tom’s response: Great story. I’m not a gold permabull. I’m just using gold as a way to sit on the sidelines while I wait for a good entry point back into the stock market. I intend to sell gold at a Dow-to-Gold ratio of 5. Then buy some excellent “Buffett-style stocks.”
Reader comment: The only reason inflation isn’t larger is as a result of the diminished size of consumer goods. It has happened ever so slowly over the last 20 years, so we all suffer the same fate in the parable of the boiled frog. It is happening so slowly that we hardly know it is happening. Packages of everything cost about the same – or slightly more – than they did 10 years ago. But the product portion and size are smaller. Like the box of crackers that used to have five sleeves of crackers in it now only has four, you are paying more for that same product than you did even just five years ago. The cost of these products is all that’s being measured, so inflation doesn’t look so bad. You, on the other hand, are being screwed!
Tom’s response: I agree. Actual inflation is obviously higher than reported inflation. But people don’t seem to care. I think one of these days, we’ll cross a threshold and inflation will become a “thing” and then everyone will be talking about it.
Reader question: Could you please give me some advice on materials for homeschooling for my grandchildren in Kansas? My daughter and son-in-law would be most appreciative.
And hey Kate, what happened to the videos? They were super – or is it awesome or cool or groovy? Enjoy!
Tom’s response: I put together some of the resources we use in this report.
Reader comment: Tom and family, great road trip for sure! I know you weren’t planning on visiting Idaho, but if Canadians won’t have you, we will. We’re up in the north Idaho panhandle, not very far from the Canadian border. We’re on the prettiest lake, with beautiful clear water… the Selkirk Mountain range lines the east shores and heads north and south. Great snow skiing, by the way! If you got up here before the water is too cold, a water ski lesson is in order. Fresh veggies from the garden and meat off of the grill. Join us if you can… Priest Lake is an amazing place to call home. We are all blessed. Safe travels.
Tom’s response: We will make an effort to come and visit you in Priest Lake in late August… especially if we can’t get into Canada. Thank you very much for the kind invitation.
Reader comment: Tom, it sounds like you feel bad that we stole the land from the native Indians (who stole it from the Indians before that, repeat ad infinitum). If you truly feel responsible for what your ancestors did many generations ago, I suggest you donate all your ill-gotten gains to the proper Indian tribe and move back to Europe where most of us came from.
Reader comment: Been reading and enjoying your Postcards for some time. Sometimes read them to my wife while she cooks. Not sure if it was a mistake but considering the Black Hills of South Dakota the “Northwest” is a stretch. A very “East Coast centrist” thing to say! Oregon and Washington typically take that claim. We took our kids on a seven-week USA tour years ago and it was the best. Wonderful experience for you and your family. Attaboy.
Reader comment: Thanks for sharing your adventures and economic insights! Been reading your guidance since The 12% Letter and Income for Life. Really like the photo you shared of Miles and Dusty in front of Devil’s Tower! The boys have gotten so tan this summer. Kudos to Kate for cooking at the campfire, especially at the primitive camping sites. I have my family cooking challenges for my family of four in CT and that’s with full amenities! Take good care and best wishes to Kate, Penny, you, and the boys!
Reader comment: First of all, thank you for sharing the highlights of your trip. My family did a Western states tour a few years ago and we are still talking about it. There are so many great things to see in this country. Continue to take the road less traveled and endear these moments.
Finally, Tom’s story has encouraged a reader to spend more time with his family…
Reader comment: Hi Tom and family, love the Postcards and your insights on the markets. Just wanted to thank you – many times I’ve been happy to let mom and my three kids go off while I enjoy some “me” time. Recently, I’ve thought of you and your own life journey, and how your family rescued you from too many similar “me” times. I’ve joined the team – thank you. I still love some “me” time, but I don’t want to look back and think of what I’ve missed, or even worse, lost. Good luck on your tours!
Tom’s note: As always, please keep writing us at [email protected]! We love getting your questions and comments, and I’ll do my best to address them in a future postcard.