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>
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’

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’