Tuesday, December 11, 2012

back to NM, time for a new trailer
up to Oregon? and pdf stories



I stopped at the natural food market in Durango to restock. It was pretty cold when I reached Chama. As I was getting propane, I asked Ernest what it has been going down to at night, ‘6 degrees last night and 3 degrees the night before.’ Sure glad I was going to my first electric hookup this winter.

One morning I ran to the end of the trail going upstream and then down to the lakebed. Kind of low. It was also snagging season. That can bring out a different class of people. Oh well, I was only going to be in Heron for a week. I took M&M to the vet for worming and Meadow needed her shots. I got Mesa here two years ago so his shots are good till next fall. I’ve also been hacking at my hair since May so it was nice to have an opportunity to get a haircut. I’m going to check out ‘cutting your own hair’ on the web to see if I can get through next summer better than this past one. We’ll see.
As always, I stopped in to see Paul and see how his shows went this past summer. He made a coupe of drums with a new design for one show and they were the first ones that sold. Pretty good, and from the photos he showed me I could sure see why. 3 Ravens Coffee Shop Is still a must do when in the area.

I drove a couple hundred miles south and was back to 60-70 degree temps with nights in the 40s. This is a good reason for heading south. Jerry was at Santa Rosa when I got there. He said Garry, Helen, and Jim (CO) had all been through. This is one aspect I like about the winter state parks, one catches up on what acquaintances have been up to over the summer.

2013 will be the year I sell my Casita. I’m researching 4-season trailers and looking at manufacturer ratings. I don’t think much of finding a used one with what I want, however. We’ll see. At least now, after having lived this lifestyle for a number of years, I know what I want and don’t want in a trailer. And since this will probably be my last trailer, might as well go for it. There are some stellar 22–26 footers out there but I don’t want to go that long. 18 footers are harder to find. I’ll start off looking at Outdoors RV Manufacturing’s Back Country 18F and their Creek Side 18CK. Outdoors RV won the RVDA Dealer Satisfaction Index in 2011. Sounds good but I need to find out what it means. Northwood Manufacturing, the makers of Arctic Fox (also good 4-season rigs) owns Outdoors RV Manufacturing so their rigs share a lot of similarities.

I downloaded Outdoors RV brochures and had even more questions. I like the floor plan and rear windows on the Creek Side 20FQ but it would be too long. For a couple into long term camping, it would be fabulous. I have not even seen any of the trailers I’m considering yet. I’m just going by what I’m learning on the web and talking to a salesperson at each factory. I would like to have a trailer long enough so I can set up a spot for silverwork if I was going to be camping in one spot for 2 or 3 weeks. I find myself doing little work having to set up my stuff every time I want to sit at the bench. A bit more room for exercise and stretching would also be nice. And with the rigs I’m looking at, I’ll be able to stay off-the-grid for a month at a time before making a town run if I’m in an area with trails or decent hiking.

So far, Outdoors RV Back Country 18F might be the most practical for my lifestyle. It’s 4-season and has an off-road chassis with good ground clearance. I like the idea of a metal skin. I like the looks, and it is a couple hundred pounds lighter than a fiberglass sided rig. The 18F has a dry weight of 4050 and a cargo carrying capacity of 1750. It’s a typical trailer, however, in that it is not as light on the inside as what I’m used to with the Casita. It might take some getting use to.

If I were going to spend all my time in hot weather, I would definitely go with aluminum siding. Better and better adhesives for fiberglass-sided rigs are being developed all the time. But there can still be delamination problems with siding that is constantly exposed to hot sunlight. You’ll see bubbles on the outside walls from time to time on such rigs. I’d also think aluminum siding would have less UV degradation and oxidation over time, than gel-coated fiberglass siding. With my lifestyle of ‘following the geese’ it would not matter. Just something to keep in mind if one stays in the lower latitudes.

Eight months of the year I’m living out in Nature—I want WINDOWS! I know, I know, so much for a 4-season rating. But with the way I follow-the-geese, I don’t really need a 4-season rig. Also, I’ve dry camped in the Casita for two nights when it went down to -6 and -8 degrees. A well-insulated and sealed rig would be WAAYYYY better than what I’ve been living with for the last few years. If one primarily stays in campgrounds, you wouldn’t want large windows. You’ll only be looking out at other RVs, campers, people, and dogs. No need for big windows. Campgrounds—small windows. Disperse camping—big windows. So…

Northwood’s Nash 17K is, presently, the other trailer I’m considering. It’s also a 4-season rig like the 18F and the back windows would be fabulous for disperse camping.
The 17K is possibly the smallest well-made trailer that I’ve come across that would be comfortable for 2 people over time. The floor plan has a ‘bedroom’ up front and the dinette with its 3 large windows in the back. The 17K might also have more counter space in the galley than the 18F. It has a gross dry weight of 4360 with a carrying capacity of 2640.
The Nash has the galley & bathroom across from each other in center of trailer, which I prefer. Just about all the water lines are in one section of the trailer and it’s easier to get warm air on them in below freezing temps. Also, the most stable part of the trailer is over the axles, there’s less flexing and shaking (like wing seats in a plane)—a good location for hose connections and glassware. Remember, this trailer will be going down hundreds of miles of dirt roads each year.

I’m leaning towards the 17K. I like the light gray color. It would blend in a little better than a white rig out in the woods. I like camping in stealth mode. Also, the looks of the trailer is a bit different, which is generally a selling point for me with just about anything. The 17K is well built; has an off-road chassis; decent ground clearance and insulation (R7 in the walls, floor and roof—but not great for a 4-season rig); AND stellar windows. It definitely has panache. It also looks kinda macho so I would have to hang frilly white lace curtains in the back windows and paint some pink and yellow accents here and there. And the next time I see Siscily, I’ll ask if she can take her paints and change the geese on the outside walls to butterflies.
Or not. (^_^)

I have an ongoing pros/cons list for the Back Country 18F and the Nash 17K. Neither offers some options that I need but the dealer can take care of that. Also, neither is aluminum framed so even when I get the trailer set up the way I want, it won’t be everything that I was initially looking for. Oh well. I’ll keep searching the web through the winter. If you have any comments, I would appreciate your input by posting a comment or sending me an email. Thanks. Or, a suggestion for another 18 footer.

Maybe I’ll just get something that I like the looks of like a Keystone Vantage. I sure hope I don’t wuss out and stick with the Casita for another year or two. I need a change and this might just do it. If I get a 4-season trailer, I’d probably linger an extra month up north in the fall before heading south each year. That would open up prime spots with few people. November and December might become my favorite months.

As you can see, these trailers are not truly 17 & 18’ trailers. The numbers refer to the model number; the box length is around 19’. My present box is 14’ long. I don’t really want another 5’, three would be enough. Either of these trailers would be good for my health, though, since they will have me running more. I’d pull over and park more often before driving up old spur roads. I’d then jog up a half mile or so to see if I can pull the trailer in and if there is a place to set up camp. I do this at times now but I’m sure I will be doing more of it. RVers don’t bother with this because they don’t go up the type of roads I’m referring to. I’ve been up some gnarly roads and have gotten into trouble with even a little Casita. The first night’s spot would give me a base so I can go out the next morning on the mountain bike and look for a spot further in or down another spur road to which I would then move and set up camp for a long stay.

If the trailer proves too long for my lifestyle, I’d have incentive to look for some acreage. Setting up in a spot near a network of trails or old logging roads for half the year would be pretty cool. I could focus on doing the type of ‘travelin’’ I most enjoy. That would really get me in shape (not something people in their 60s generally do anything about). I’m looking forward to what the next couple years will bring. Life’s a hoot. I wonder if I could get an inamorata with the new trailer.
An offshoot of all this is that I recently went back and rewrote quite a bit of the ‘choosing a rig’ entry.

I’ll start north in March. It might take 3 or 4 months to get a trailer with the options I want. I’d rather be up north a bit during the process. There are dealers for each brand in Boise. And Dennis has been wanting to show me eastern Oregon. Maybe I’ll visit the factories in Oregon. I’ll order a trailer somewhere and go off camping till it’s ready. I wonder how it will work out selling the Casita as I’m buying the new rig. I’ll post it on craigslist.org in cities within 500 miles of wherever I’m at, as well as on the casita club forum for $5,500 (a couple thousand less than what I’ve seen posted). I’m really not looking forward to having a new trailer; I’ve always bought used. Maybe the gods will favor me with a used 4-seasons. Don’t think I’ll hold my breath, though.

I read a novel by Matthew Reilly and inside the back cover it mentioned that he offered free downloads for some of his short stories on his web site (matthewreilly.com). I thought that was pretty cool. I downloaded 5 of them and enjoyed 4. Not bad. Granted, it might have been the cabernet, but I still think they were good reads. I love free entertainment. I did a search for other free pdf short stories and downloaded 57 more to supplement my paperbacks in the coming months.

November sixty minutes sixty years—1869 minutes
November Triple 18—pecs/delts: 1845; core: 1845; legs: 2020

Seek joy not happiness for happiness is fleeting
and joy is everlasting. from my friend Daisy


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

sweat lodge, a mistake, a second shelter,
2nd spot in the canyon rims area
and cryptobiotic soil



After three weeks, I broke camp and made a run into Moab for supplies and to see a couple friends. I had breakfast with Lisa at Love Muffin CafĂ© like the last time. It’s always a treat to see her and the Muffin has good food and sidewalk tables. Then I picked up some stuff at the food co-op. Afterwards I stopped in at Arches Electronics to see if I could get a replacement Nikon Coolpix. The owner was getting ready to close the store for the winter and he gave me a stellar deal on a model S9300. Two upgrades from my S9100 and it was $50 less than what I paid for the 9100. I asked if he had any 10x50 binoculars—and he gave me another good price. It was like christmas in October. Then I spent almost three hours on the web; too long but I still did not finish the work I wanted to do. I sure miss daily access to the web. It’s such a fabulous learning tool.
Later I met Theresa for coffee and went back to her place to fill up my water jugs. It was the end of October and Theresa and David were still harvesting from their large garden. They cover some of the plants at night and use cinderblocks for heat retention. They also grow the best garlic I’ve ever had, German extra hardy. I left their place with lettuce; tomatoes; cloves of German extra hardy, kettle river, and music pink; a basil plant; and a pot with some garlic gloves planted in it.
I picked up a bottle of Bordeaux at the state liquor store, which I’ll squirrel away until the winter solstice. By the time I took care of laundry, groceries, gas, and propane, I realized I was leaving Moab way too late. It had rained a bit and had turned cold (winter coat cold). As I passed the La Sal Mountains along rt191, there was snow on the peaks. It was dark before I reached my turnoff. This is becoming a big mistake. With my cataracts, night vision is the pits. Hunters were heading home along this road and the headlights pretty much blinded me. Almost hit a BLACK cow. She was right there on the road one time as I was getting my vision back and I just managed to swerve around her. First time I had to swerve while hauling a trailer (I’m not talkin’ about a weave, here). I no longer drive at night but I wasn’t keeping track of time. I’ll have to be more aware of this in the future. This was definitely not smart, let alone safe. Then finding a spur road in the dark that was drivable and a spot to camp just kept making this whole experience more bizarre. And then there was M&M. They had been cooped up in the Dodge for over 13 hours. They needed a break so I let them out when I found a spot to spend the night. I figured they would not stay out for long since it was pretty cold and they had not eaten all day (Meadow would have chucked it back up). I keep only water out for them on a moving day. After they came in I gave them an extra treat and in the morning moved a short distance to a more appropriate spot to camp.

I came across this structure while meandering around the last spot. There were not any tracks around it. I stepped on sticks and rocks to not leave any tracks of my own nor did I want to walk on the cryptobiotic soil. It might have been nice to heat up some rocks and take a sweat bath.

This is the kind of spot I look for when it starts to turn cold. A couple days after visiting Moab, it started to warm up a bit. For most of the next 3 weeks there were only a couple nights in the 20s with most of them in the upper 30s and lower 40s. The days were generally in the 60s. Quite a few double tracks in the area for running. This type of spot is different from the other spots I’ve taken the last 3 years through here but it had enough to make it worthwhile and I would use it again. The land around this second camping spot offered great walks with M&M in the late afternoons.
The silence of early morning in the canyon rims area is so total—so serene and relaxing. That alone keeps me coming back.

Glen gave me directions to another possible camping spot and I biked down there one morning to check it out. Maybe I’ll use it next fall. The trailer would fit on the rock where the bike is. There’s another spot I came across while out running one morning from my first spot. I’ll probably try to camp there also. It’s up on a rocky hill with a double track going up the sloped side.

While meandering with M&M one afternoon, I came across a second structure. It’s smaller than the first one but again, looks old with no footprints around it (which is generally always a good thing).

Cryptobiotic soil is quite prevalent down in the Canyon Rims area. The soil is a biological soil crust composed of living cyanobacteria, brown and green algae, lichens, fungi, and/or mosses. You might know it by one of its other names. This soil crust contributes to the health of other plants by stabilizing sand and dirt and promoting moisture retention. It’s pretty cool but extremely fragile. One does not want to go walking across it. It can take a few years to over a century for all the species in the soil to recover.

I pack a small pair of binoculars (8x21) when I go off on a hike and I have a pair of 7x35 that I use around camp. I don’t think I’ve used binoculars as much as I have this year so I started to think about getting a more powerful pair. I read that one can hold a 10x steady enough to not be bothersome and that seems to be the case. I enjoy the wide angle of my Minalta 7x (192m @ 1,000m). The new 10x50 isn’t wide angle but it does not seem to matter. Maybe because I’m usually looking at stuff farther away than with the 7x and there’s plenty of field of view.

Carry binoculars—one should always see as far as one can.


The last 2 nights were in the lower teens. The first few of each year always seem tougher to cope with. The first morning the furnace wouldn’t turn on. Guano (cold guano). I did some cleaning that day and it lit the next morning. The Wave catalytic heater sure has been a lifesaver over the years. I’m going to make sure my next trailer has wall space to mount a larger model, however. 3,000 BTUs is nowhere near enough on cold days. My last water container froze pretty solid. There was an inch of snow one night. It stayed cold all day and the second night was colder. Probably time to head over to New Mexico for the winter. Bummer. I called Siscily and she and Paul have already left Chama so I’ll miss seeing her this year. They’re doing fine and did some kayaking at Lake Powell and Lake Mead on the way to western Arizona.
I’m still using the solar bag for washing my hair but no way was I going to wash my body out there. The last few uses were a tad unpleasant. I’m sure looking forward to taking some indoor hot showers!

I had these lines written down from somewhere but I have no idea from where. Someone was asked a question. His answer was an idea I wanted to remember.

“ ‘What advice would you give to the ungainly and unconfident who don’t have the benefit of your daily support?’
Well, everyone is ungainly in one way or another. For most of my life I thought I was a technical imbecile. Until a friend of mine pointed out to me how often I say that. I then changed that particular inner message to, ‘I’m quite good at learning about technical stuff.’ Since then, I’ve been able to learn to figure out new software really fast. My suggestion is to change what you tell yourself about your abilities. I’m convinced that anyone can achieve success, if they’re willing to learn and be patient.”

October sixty minutes sixty years— 2225 minutes
October Triple 18—pecs/delts: 1930; core: 1955; legs: 1860

Life is at its best when it’s shaken and stirred.


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

canyon rims, trees for M&M,
and macraven



I’m definitely not cut out to be a butt-voyeur. One day I drove 240 miles and I was beat. Granted, I had not gotten much sleep the previous two nights, but still. 240 miles is an easy day for an RVer and they can do that and more day after day. I have trouble sitting for that long (I get to feeling like a slug), let alone being cooped up in a truck. I’d much rather go for a run in the mountains for a couple hours. Different strokes. Maybe when I’m half dead and no longer able to travel between the roads.

The next driving day was more like it, 76 miles (anything under 100 miles is generally good). The last 9 miles were on dirt roads in the Canyon Rims Recreation Area, south of Moab. I don’t think I’ve been here this early in past years. But then I’ve always hit this area while heading south and this time I was still heading north. I called Glen to ask for suggestions and he gave me directions for three new spots. If you recall pictures from the last 3 years, you can see why I come back. The temps are pleasant this time of year and there’s rarely other disperse campers in the area. Actually, last fall was the first time I came across other campers. While driving down a dirt road looking for a spot, I passed 2 rigs and even they were a couple miles apart. I continued on another couple miles and took a stellar spot on the rim.

It took some jockeying around once I got to the end of this spur and I put quite a few more scratches on the Dodge. I made a bit of a mess but as always in the desert, I took out my scrub rake and erased errant tire tracks. Doing the old leave not trace thing.

This spot is at 6,300’, about 1,500’ lower from where I was on the Kaibab.

Red rock country is impressive. But mostly, traveling with two felines, I see red dirt. I planned ahead, however, and brought in a few extra gallons of water. Cats and dirt—good grief! I don’t usually keep the cat door open when in the area. Then I can snag them whenever they want in and wipe them down. One would think that since I brought them back to trees they can actually climb, they’d be somewhat grateful and give me less grief. Yeah, right.
M&M and I are taking plenty of really nice walks. Meadow can easily go for 45 minutes. Mesa is best with 20-30 minutes. If he tags along for a 40-45 minute walk, he’ll bag the next day’s walk. What a wuss.

I did more running than mountain biking while here. No single-tracks, other than cow paths, but nice soft footing, pretty neat scenery, quiet, and no one around. Stellar mornings. The first day I ran out to a point and was presented with this great view.

Three weeks are up so I’m heading to Moab for supplies and web access, and then I’m coming back to the rims area to check out the other two spots Glen suggested. I plan to stay another two or three weeks in the area. Then I’ll scoot over to Chama and try to catch Siscily before she and Paul head for Bouse.br>
While in Kanab, I stopped in Willow Creek Outdoor gear (great shop—coffee, books, wi-fi, and outdoor gear). I remembered they carry stickers from Gilberg Design. I really wanted a raven for my MacBook.

Nick, a lady who works at Screaming Banshee in Bisbee, says:
I wake up each morning and think how can I cause chaos
and spread love and happiness today.


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

back in the dirt for M&M, mail call, little chuckles,
thrilling but nuts, scootin’ mesa,
water containers, john’s eclipse, and triple 18


After the second run down to Kanab, I drove to a spot that I came across while out mountain biking. It’s sunnier for the cooler weather. The spot is across a slope so I had to dig a 3” trench for the uphill wheel and put the downslope wheel up on two 2x8s. It’s been a few years since I had to do that.
When M&M came back to camp after checking out the immediate area, I noticed they had found some loose dirt. Guano. Now they are back to cutting into the water supply. Washing them down each evening is not one of my favorite things to do. This spot, however, offers the best terrain we’ve had in quite a while for late afternoon walks with M&M. Win some lose some.

I can get NPR here on my eton Scorpion solar radio and American Routes is broadcast on Saturday afternoons. I really enjoy that program but it’s not offered on all NPR stations and they don’t offer it on podcasts. It’s a real treat whenever I can listen to it.

If I come back to this area again (and it’s a good location for August and September), I know right where I’ll camp. It’s down an old logging road with some saplings growing up in the road but room enough to maneuver around them. If I go to the end, I can cut through the woods and hit the Arizona Trail within a couple hundred yards. There are also some other nice spots within a mile and none of them have fire rings. Few people use this part of the Kaibab. Most go to the west side for the views, the east rim, or the roads in the middle. I can’t recall coming across such a network of little used old logging roads within a few miles. They are getting overgrown but many are fine if pulling a small trailer.

One drawback to camping in the woods for three weeks is little critters might start building nests under the hood. I think these were chipmunks. The droppings were too large for mice. Even using my hands, a small whiskbroom, and chopsticks, I was not able to get all the stuff out. Sure hope it drops out while driving rather than go up in flames. This is all SO much fun.

My Nikon is dying. The zoom mechanism gets hung up and I have to tap the camera to make it stop. Probably not a good thing to do to a camera. I missed a shot of a few wild turkeys that came close to camp. The focus is also beginning to be off. I’m rarely getting a sharp image. Guano.

You probably know people who are just a bit too uptight. Those you wouldn’t waste time telling a joke to. Those who miss most of the little day-to-day chuckles of life. Those people I try to avoid. I was reading The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter. Not a humorous novel but I got an unexpected chuckle out of a sentence. Three of the characters had lunch at a restaurant called Cadavers, which was set up in a converted funeral home. I would hate to have the frame of mind that would miss a little humor like that. Then I was reading a western and a marshal told the undertaker that he needed him to write a death certificate for a body. ‘Death certificate? I don’t know nothin’ about no death certificate. Around here, if we put ‘em in the ground, folks assume they’re dead.’ Being blindsided by humor is definitely one of life’s little treats.

The last time I was down in Kanab I emailed to have my mail forwarded to general delivery. I realized it has been nearly six months since I had mail. The box was pretty heavy. The postal service requires mail forwarding services to forward all the junk mail. It wasn’t like that when I started this lifestyle. It has more than doubled the cost of postage.

I only spent two weeks at the second spot on the Kaibab. M&M are WAY tired of camping under ponderosa pines. They’ve been surrounded by trees all summer, and they can’t climb them. I need to get them among some junipers so they can climb, walk along branches, and occasionally wedge themselves in and take a snooze. I’m heading up to the Rim Recreation Area south of Moab for maybe a month (and I get to set my clocks forward for daylight savings). Then start heading south with a stop at Heron Lake for a week, sometime in November. I really enjoy racking up the miles on the trail there and the one connecting down to El Vado from the dam. At 7,000’, it will be cold so I’ll try for an electric site. I know, I know, I’m a wimp. We’ll see how it goes. And of course, stop at Three Ravens a couple times to get some java from Paul.

One evening Mesa came scooting back to camp, stopped and looked behind him. A young mule deer was checking him out and following close behind. Mesa wanted no part of the encounter. When the deer noticed me, she pronked away. I love that springing gait when a quadruped quickly bounds along, like a coiled spring, her feet all touch the ground at the same time, like boing, boing, boing. Way cool. I remember another time when Mesa came scooting back to camp when he was only a few months old, and stopped to look back. That time there was a turkey coming up the hill behind him, followed by some others a ways back. I was thinkin’, welcome to the life Mesa.

There was a story in National Geographic that mentioned Dean Potter. What he does is absolutely thrilling but good grief, it’s nuts!
Check out this video clip.

For extended stays off the grid, sometimes an RV’s water storage tank is not large enough or for some like me, it’s used for food storage. I started out with 3 or 4 blue 7-gallon Reliance aqua containers. I liked the idea of using them on a table and having a convenient spigot. The plastic used for the 7-gallon jugs lasts about 3 years and then seem to weaken (and no, I don’t leave them sitting in the sun). I’m down to one (the others cracked). One can just replace them; they don’t cost much. But one container with a spigot is enough, just refill it. Now I’m using the green 6-gallon Reliance containers (I have five). The plastic seems to be holding up better and they are easier to store. The four 5-gallon buckets I purchased a few months ago (less than $4 apiece in Walmart paint department w/an acceptable #2 rating) have been working out quite well. The 20 gallons of water storage take up a small footprint when empty. One just needs to be sure the plastic buckets are rated #2 or one of the other numbers acceptable for drinking water (BPA free). If you’ve never used these, the lids can be tough to get off initially but loosen up after a few uses (there’s also a plastic pry bar designed for these lids which make opening easy). I also like the buckets because I can easily wipe down the inside with bleach from time to time. One thing about the 5gal buckets though, the lids are not watertight. In the back of a pickup it’s not really an issue, but…. You can however, generally find watertight lids at an Ace Hardware. The smaller blue 4-gallon Reliance jug in the photo is used in the galley (I haven’t used the casita’s water lines since the end of ’07, by choice). The Reliance spigots wear out but a standard ¾” brass one fits. Cut off the hose threads and it looks pretty cool. The 5-gallon collapsible water jug is used to refill the solar shower bag and for miscellaneous washing tasks. I purchased this 5-gal collapsible jug after my 2-gal one died. Water came out of the spigot real slow. I drilled the two inside alignment holes out to twice what they were and now there is a much better flow. As the Reliance jugs crack and die, I won’t be replacing them. I’ll get down to one 2-4gal jug for the galley and one 6-7gal for the outside table and use the 5gal buckets for my water supply. Mainly because of the small footprint when they are empty and the ability to periodically wipe down the inside.

As I mentioned back in the June entry, John set me up to watch my first solar eclipse. He also emailed me a number of jpgs that he took. What I especially liked were the shots of the setting sun.

I have not missed a month of meeting Diana’s Sixty Minutes Sixty Years challenge that I first talked about in the June 2011 entry. So after a year, I wanted to try another challenge. I came up with the Triple 18. Keeping with Diana’s 1800 minutes of physical activity each month, I wanted to do 1800 reps of pectoral/deltoid exercises in a month as well as 1800 reps of core exercises and 1800 reps of leg exercises. It comes out to only 60 reps for each of the three muscle groups per day. Pretty easy with the dozens of different exercises to provide variety as well as different degrees of intensity. I’ve been trying to get started with this challenge for months and I finally nailed it in September. I’ll see how it goes this month. I hope it becomes as addictive as Diana’s sixty-sixty challenge has proved to be.

September sixty minutes sixty years—2385 minutes

September triple 18—pecs/delts:2025 reps; core:1835 reps;
and legs:1890 reps

‘Happiness is self-contentedness.’ Aristotle


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

bear at the door, 2 postings, bow drill,
3-week stints off the grid, the Kaibab,
living for single-tracks, and mushrooms



‘I was seeing if M&M wanted to come out and play.’


I know the reasons why people choose to stay in campgrounds but it just can not compare with disperse camping out in Nature. As I got back to camp one morning after a sandbag walk, this little one was checking out the place. When I first saw her, she was at the door. Sure glad she stuck around until I dug out the camera and got off this single rushed shot. The next morning while I was working through a medicine ball routine, guess who came walking up the road?

I should have posted the previous entry the last time I had web access so I’m posting two today.

I’m back to spending time at the bench but I’m working with ‘found objects’ rather than silver. I’ll post pictures when I get some pieces made along with a photo of what they were made from. I made a bow drill. I used something I had around for the weights. I’m keeping my eyes open for a single more compact weight to use for a cleaner look. Sure has more power than I thought it would. I started with one more weight but had to take it off; there was too much force for the small bits I use. I could also probably place a thin stick in the chuck and use it to start a campfire. Have to try that at some point.

In the past when staying off the grid for three weeks or so, I was pretty much winging it as far as supplies were concerned. After this year with so far, five back-to-back 3-week stints, I pretty much have it nailed without running out of certain items too early or having leftover items that were just taking up space. Three weeks is a comfortable time span for me before making a town run. If it is hot though, it’s more difficult. I start getting a very strong craving for fresh fruit. With the cooler temperatures that I experienced for most of the summer, it wasn’t much of a problem (except for the first stint back in the Gilas). The days for a town trip can be a pain in the butt with all the stuff I have to take care of. Then I still have to drive to another section of national forest and explore the roads looking for a spot to set up camp. I can almost blame my slow email responses on M&M. I don’t like M&M staying in the Dodge too long so when I find web access, I just download my emails to a Word document to read and write responses when I get to camp. The next time I come across wi-fi, I copy and paste to email. The only thing wrong with this is my responses can be six weeks behind. Then at one point, my tracfone was canceled. They sent me notification emails that my account was about to expire but I was off the grid. Luckily it was not difficult to get it back up. Unreal.

The first morning after I got to the Kaibab, I left the casita up top and made a run down to Kanab. Took care of the various tasks and stopped in at Parry Lodge where I was a workamper in ’07. That summer the Lodge employed 11 workampers (2 left early on). This summer the Lodge only employs 2 seasonal workampers. After the season two of the workampers took over managing the Lodge. I was looking forward to seeing them but they moved to Florida. I wonder if they are still workampers. Two locals I enjoyed spending time with back in ‘07, Doug and Bob, are still there and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with them and shared some new jokes. Made my day. Doug is still writing cowboy poetry and still winning awards. I’m seeing them again on this run.

When I got back to the Kaibab, I dropped stuff off at the casita and went off looking for a spot to camp. Oh man, what a network of forest roads! I came across a decent spot and the next morning had a 3-mile drive to the spot. My kind of daily mileage. Back in 07, my weekly double-overnights on the plateau were generally 30 miles south of Jacob Lake in the east rim area with access to the Arizona Trail only two miles away. This time I’m camping where I can access sections of the Arizona Trail I have not been on, as well as a section of the Great Western Trail. This summer sure is a contrast from last. Have no idea of how many miles I’m racking up mountain biking the trails and forest roads and running the single-tracks but it sure feels good. I marked down coordinates for potential camping spots down spur roads in my road notebook and will be moving to one of them tomorrow. I made note of a couple spots with more sun since it has been getting cooler up here, I’ll shoot for one of those spots. I’ll also start positioning the trailer for colder weather camping so the early morning sun shines into two of the back windows. I’m looking forward to new sections of the Arizona Trail. I don’t know, I almost seem to live for single-tracks. It’s my favorite type of travel.
Before it gets too cold I might go down to the North Rim, try out my senior pass, and hike into Bright Angel Canyon and also explore another section of the Arizona Trail. Being able to hit the trails is one reason I try to keep reasonably fit. I love being out there. I rarely see people out on the trails, though, probably because I’m out there so early in the day, but I like to stop and talk with those I come across. Kindred souls.

The area was pretty wet when I first got to the Kaibab and it continued to rain occasionally for the next few days. This is the first time that I‘ve ever regretted not having learned about gathering wild mushrooms. I’ve never seen so many in one location nor the varied sizes, shapes, textures, and colors. I could have easily collected a bushel around my camping spot and another when out walkin’ with M&M. There were probably 4 or 5 varieties that I have not come across before or at least don’t remember. Many were 3, 4, and 5 inches in diameter. I’m going to look some of them up on the web when I have the time, especially the large red ones with insides as white and crisp looking as apples and other large ones that reminded me of squash. There was one shiny, little orange and red one that seemed to shout ‘Don’t eat me.’ Didn’t try any of them since I had no idea which ones were eatable and I still enjoy being above the ground.

I was talking with Siscily and I asked how Jim and Beverly were doing as volunteers at Heron. She mentioned that they scooted a bear out of their campground and the bear ran into the lake. It SWAM from Brushy Point cg all the way across to the other side of the lake. I had no idea a bear could swim so far. There were quite a few people watching its progress and the bear was big enough that they could see it climb out. Now THAT’S way cool. Sure would love to have seen that.

If I’m reading a well-written suspense novel, I can refer to it as a real page-turner. For a person reading an exciting book on a Kindle, it just does not seem to give the same sense of excitement if the book is referred to it as ‘a real button-presser.’

You’re never dead until you stop learning.


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006