BUENA VISTA, COLORADO – This place is incredible…
We’re camping on the Arkansas River in southern Colorado.
An old, disused railroad track runs along the edge of the campground and crosses the river, just near our camp. (It’s the old Denver and Rio Grande mainline for serving the mines around Leadville.)
The bridge it crosses the river with was built in 1880. (There’s a little commemorative plaque welded into the steel girder.)
The kids have been playing on the bridge and underneath it in the river all day. And I’ve been taking pictures…
Kate and the kids
Homeless and Drifting Around America
Greetings from Colorado!
My family and I have been homeless for two years… first drifting around the world… and now drifting around America.
Here in America, we’ve been on the road for nearly three months. We plan to stay on the road for a few months more…
(We’re hoping to get to Fernie, a small town in the Canadian Rockies, by winter…)
Family selfie on the bridge
Storms come and go all day here in Buena Vista.
They give off these beautiful light-and-cloud shows over the desert. Then they whip us with dusty wind and sometimes a sprinkle of rain. And then they disappear again.
Here’s Penny during the buildup of one of these storms…
And here’s another storm. (That’s our next door neighbor for the night).
Our next door neighbor, and another storm building up
Our New Plans for the Future?
At one point, a man and a woman came floating down the river on inflatable stand-up paddle boards. They got out of the river next to where the kids were playing.
They gave each other a big high five and then hugged each other as if they’d just accomplished something really great.
She turned to us. “That was the best!”
“Do you do this a lot?” I asked her.
“I’ve paddled 56 days so far this season… on rivers all over Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Today was the best day of the year so far.”
They explained to me that they spend all winter in the mountains skiing their “faces off,” and then they spend all summer stand-up paddling down rivers all over the Western states.
“The snow starts melting in the spring and it’s like fresh powder every day, all over again,” they said.
A little later, Kate and I started talking about our future, as we often do.
“Why don’t we live like those two?” I asked. “We’ll find a house in the mountains somewhere and we’ll ski all winter and surf rivers all summer. It’ll be great. We’ll be like an adventure family, living off adrenaline…”
“Sounds good to me,” said Kate.
The Tough but Kind Cowboy: A Great Role Model
We’ve discovered a wonderful new book – Mustang Man by Louis L’Amour. It’s book number 13 in the Sackett Series. The boys and I are listening to it on Audible.
It’s a western adventure book, told from the perspective of a tough but kindly outlaw named Nolan Sackett. He gets involved in a life-or-death hunt for 300 pounds of buried gold.
It’s a great story, and very well told, and perfectly appropriate for this stage of our journey (as it’s set in the West).
We normally only listen to books in the car, but we were so eager to find out what happened in the end, we couldn’t wait until we were driving again to finish the book.
So we sat in our beds in the camper today during the middle of the day and listened to it on the portable speaker.
We’re going to listen to the entire 17-book series now.
Also, the tough but kind cowboy is a great role model for young boys. The book is loaded with all this awesome cowboy wisdom, too. We’ll see…
Tomorrow, we head southeast.
We’ve been invited to camp on a 22,000-acre sanctuary for wild horses (mustangs) on the Colorado-New Mexico state line. I’ll write to you as soon as we’re settled in our new digs…
– Tom Dyson
P.S. The Dow-to-Gold ratio is at 13.4…
P.P.S. Here’s Penny and another little camper she met here…
Penny and her new camper friend
Tom explains how to calculate the Dow-to-Gold ratio… a reader asks about tanker stock allocations… two readers talk about the Dysons’ elk experience in Colorado… and another offers his home as a stop for their American road trip…
Reader question: Tom: Know you can’t give advice. But can you mention the formula for the Dow-to-Gold ratio in one of your next postcards? As I read each one, I believe you divide the current Dow into the current gold value. Or is it reversed? Or do I buy your service to find out? Can your publisher let me know?
Tom’s response: To calculate the Dow-to-Gold ratio, you simply divide the Dow (26,688 at writing) by the gold price (around $1,980 an ounce). That gives us a value of 13.4 for the Dow-to-Gold ratio today.
You can also type “Dow/gold ratio” into Google’s search engine and you’ll get a fairly up-to-date result. (Might be a couple of days out of date.)
My target is a Dow-to-Gold ratio of 5. (More on that here.)
Reader comment: Dear Tom, one of the new members of your “tribe” checking in from South Africa… I’ve been invested in the markets for only a couple of years now and have taken a fairly passive approach to the process during that time. I come from a more science-minded family of engineers, doctors, and architects and, believe it or not, have never really taken an interest in the world of finance.
That seems worlds away! The recent market upheaval has proven to be somewhat of a blessing in disguise as it has forced me out of this comfort zone. Your material has been a great support in my newfound goal to take the reins of my financial future – thank you!
I have a question regarding the tanker trade you recommend as part of your gold strategy. You suggest your readers keep their positions in these stocks small. Maybe this should be obvious to me, but I’m having trouble deciding what percentage weight to assign to them. Would a 10% allocation be suitably small? Please, Tom, this novice needs your help! Thank you in advance.
Tom’s response: I can’t give personalized advice, but as a rule of thumb, I think 10% is too much. These stocks are very risky and very volatile. I would start with 5%, and then I can always buy more later.
I’m glad you’re considering tanker stocks, though. Just remember… These are not popular investments. They’re very contrarian and more like “maximum hate” investments. They may disappoint you for a while before they catch fire.
Reader comment: I’ve enjoyed your Postcards. In the distant past, I drove across the continent and camped myself. With regard to the elk on Main Street, this is not unusual in Estes Park, where my in-laws built a home and used to live. The elk usually come to town when it is dangerous – as in hunting season – as they are not stupid and have learned that the town square is quite safe and, while they are not always welcomed, they not bothered there. It’s quite an amazing sight. Good luck with your travels. I wish I was young enough to duplicate your efforts.
Reader comment: Your picture of elk on the street reminds me of when we lived there. This was almost a daily occurrence during the summer. We had elk walk through our yard almost every day. Our dog (Collie) was afraid of them because they were not afraid of him. But he loved to chase the deer. It was nothing to see a herd of 200 on the edge of the big lake east of town, or on the golf course. Try playing golf through a herd of elk. Thanks for the memories.
Reader comment: I’ve enjoyed your travels vicariously for some time, as well as your investment insights. I have a home in Bozeman, Montana and plenty of room for a camper should a stay in the Bozeman area be planned. Although I am in Panama on an extended visit, my wife is there and would make you very welcome, as would Ace, the super schnauzer that protects us from all things evil. Good luck on your travels and thanks for sharing them via the Postcards.
Tom’s note: Thanks for the invitation and for all the kind words! You keep us going. Please keep your questions and comments coming at [email protected].