Sunday, December 22, 2013

third goat, stranded solstice, recreation vehicles, and

Just thought this was cool (near the library in Moab).

So, now it seems that a solstice equates with a goat. Since I started with Heifer International, I’ve bought three goats (only $120 each). As I’ve said, I love their tradition of ‘Pass on the Gift.’ Running tally is 3 goats and 1 flock of chicks ($20). Next flock comes at the spring equinox.

In September, I came across another bottle of Pink while passing through Price, so I squirreled it away for my favorite holiday. I got up extra early on the solstice, bundled up and went out for a mug-walk while it was still somewhat dark. It’s so quiet and calm, with very little movement, this time of day. A Kakadu duster and Filson hat took care of the light drizzle. Looking forward to more light each day for the next six months. When I got back, I practiced zazen and called some friends. Later in the day, I went off on a hike along the bluff trail at Bottomless, continued along to the visitor center, worked my way up to the top of the bluff, and back along the top to the campground. A decent hour and a half loop. Later in the afternoon I went for a walk around the park to see if there were any RVers out to talk to. Care to guess? In the evening, with two glasses of Pink, I watched my annual viewing of ‘Pulse – A Stomp Odyssey’ (presented by Honda). Great performances.

One thing that set this winter solstice apart from others is, I was stranded. A few days ago I was pulling out of Bottomless and didn’t even make it out of the park. The fuel pump died. A flatbed took the Dodge into Roswell and the Nash was towed into a campsite. It looks like I will be here a week longer than intended since the pump needs to be ordered. Not the best time of year for shipping packages. Thankfully I have plenty of supplies. Whoopee. As I’ve said before, I’m really pleased with the Good Sam Roadside Assistance plan. The annual fee pays for 100% of the towing fee (if you already have a towing package with your insurance company, be sure it will also applies to your RV in case you break down [you don’t want it sitting there along the road]). This is the fifth time I’ve used Good Sam since I started this lifestyle, four tows and one assist (broke my lug wrench [cheap stock tool] trying to take off a seized nut on the Cherokee [roadside assistance even had to go back for a stronger tool than he had with him]). Yep, Good Sam Roadside Assistance gets my vote. Have not yet used the roadside assistance plan I have with my Blue Sky RV insurance.

Where have all the recreation vehicles gone? Now-a-days, when one thinks of recreation vehicles, they are generally referring to ATVs, boats, and dirt bikes. Vehicles specifically designated as ‘recreation vehicles,’ RVs, don’t seem to be used all that much for recreation by a good number of their owners. These people want all the comforts of home with full nightly hookups in parks and resorts. More and more of these recreation vehicles are geared towards luxury living, a veritable showcase with all kinds of amenities. Some have full size house refrigerators that run only on AC and TVs in a basement locker so they can watch TV while sitting outside their class A. Granted, there are different types of recreation, but I thought recreation refers to play. As no surprise, when I was a kid, trailers were different. They were used for camping, a form of recreation, usually out in national forests. Now these recreation vehicles have fireplaces, washer/dryers, convection ovens, 4 burner stoves, multiple A/Cs and TVs, satellite dish, back decks, multiple slide outs, and whatnot. The interiors look like designer homes. A long way from a ’55 Boles Aero. Sure glad I have a RV I can pull along dirt roads and double tracks, but then again, I’m using it for recreation. Out there off-the-grid, I have sun for power, a base for camping and hiking, and Nature for entertainment. Something I call—recreation.

I’ve been going back to the same areas for the winter months. I’m no longer surprised that others who do the same thing, know so little about the surrounding land. I take the time and effort to go exploring every chance I get. For me, hiking is a big part of my outdoor experience—to see what’s out there. Mostly by myself, I tend to get the most out of it that way and there is rarely someone around who can actually hike. There are a number of things that I enjoy doing with others but traveling between the roads is mostly a solitary thing for me. I listen to people I come across say how they love the outdoors, but they don’t go out into it. I recall Diana once commented about such people—‘…never venturing past the outdoor rug under their awning.’ They’ll never get it, nor do they care. Different strokes. I thank the gods, I chose to get past my medical problems and become active again. I’m only in my 60s; no cause for age to be a key factor.

Starting to get my winter social fix. I just wish it were with more people I could relate to. Oh well, the season is young. And, really, all it takes is a couple of people. That worked for three winters. I tend to be in a healthier mindset out there off-the-grid—body and spirit are more in tune. Maybe because it’s just simpler out there. And simple, in and of itself, is natural and fulfilling. You can probably tell, I’m already looking forward to being back out there.

We had a cold spell, and for two days, M&M didn’t want to go out. The third and fourth day, they went out for about ten minutes. This was not good; they get hyper. In the afternoons they chase each other back and forth with plenty of wrestling and tumbling. Take that OUTSIDE! It’s too COLD out there! Good grief.

I know, I know, these jpgs are from back in Utah but they sure are better than what I’ve been coming across in the parks. Although, Tom reminded me I missed out a stellar shot (if I could have gotten the lighting right). On a cold day up at Santa Rosa, I bundled up and went off on a hike along the shoreline trail. There was a freezing fog coming in off the water and the flora along the shore had a beautiful coating of frost. It didn’t even enter my mind to take a photo, even if I had my Nikon with me. I don’t usually carry it if I’m in a campground so my mind isn’t focused on possible shots. The photo ops are not generally what I look for. But then I sometimes miss a good one. Guano.

I was the only one in a laundromat early one fall morning, back in Moab, when a car pulled up with two women in it. They sat there for a bit, then one of them came in. She started talking to me and I’m thinkin’, good grief. She then hands me two pamphlets and leaves. Jehovah Witness. Yeah, I guess an older single guy in a laundromat WOULD look like a loser.

November sixty minutes sixty years—1905 minutes
November Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2490; core: 1800; legs: 2670

I have always had a dread of
becoming a passenger in life.
Margrethe of Denmark

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Saturday, November 30, 2013

solo trailer and
last RV, but…

At times, I’ve gone for months without coming across a spot to camp that really feels good. Many are comfortable and there are areas to explore but they just don’t click. To most, they would probably be pretty nice, but having lived this lifestyle for a while, my standards seem to have risen above the norm. But at some point, I’ll come across a location that brings a big smile to my face and maybe a shout of YES! A new home. Won’t happen again until at least February or March.

Tilt! Driving tends to be a little different off-the-grid. This section of road was somewhat washed out from the heavy, late summer rain in the area. Vehicles started going along the slope to get past it. I know, kind of damaging but there is a lot beyond this section of road.

The hiking in this area is almost too good. No trails but good grief, who would want them in an area like this—there’s too much to see. RVers have no idea of what I mean by traveling between the roads—sure no butt-voyeurs here. I love this area in the fall. Seven weeks here this year and I’ll shoot for a similar stay next year. We’ll see. I’d also like to go back to one of the spots I came across my first year in this area. It’s hard to beat this lifestyle.

I went for a hike one day with the intention of getting down into a canyon. I took a drainage that looked as if it would take me down. It was working pretty well with only one spot where I had to butt-slide down a slope of bedrock. After 30 minutes I got to this spot. Thought it might not be smart to butt-slide any of these slopes. Yep, I’m a smart cookie.

Another day I was working my way up out of a canyon and came to this dead end. I’ve probably done more backtracking while here than I have in years. It sure makes the hikes more interesting.

I was thinking about a design for a perfect solo trailer for this lifestyle (disperse camping off-the-grid for 8-9 months a year with plenty of miles up dirt roads and 2-3 of the winter months in state parks with electric hookups).
I’d pretty much go with a Northwood Nash 17K but with some changes that don’t exist for it.
The heavy duty, cambered off-road chassis is a keeper. I would want the propane lines rerouted, however. They presently attached under the frame (the lowest point on the frame!). Good grief. When going up unmaintained dirt roads, a rock could make contact with a propane line rather than the trailer frame. Remember I go up some rough, narrow roads with, at times, not much room to maneuver. Yes, I would like to avoid that rock—but I don’t got no room!
Something would also have to be done with the gray & black tank drain. Good grief, could they make it any LOWER!

I’d want aluminum framing with foam panels rather than the wood framing and batten insulation. And I know it gets a bad rap, but I would want an aluminum skinned trailer rather than fiberglass. Many spurs are too narrow for an 8’ wide trailer. Aluminum holds up better to branches scraping along the trailer’s length. Many forget the R in RV stands for recreation, not some kind of showpiece. Most tend to look down at aluminum siding as low class, reminiscent of trailer people from the 40s and 50s (not that a good portion of present day full timers wouldn’t fit into that category).

I’d paint the trailer forest service green or some shade of Bahamas blue (& pack a can paint for touching up the scrapes).

I’d keep the Northwood Nash 17K floor plan and bare floors are the only way to go for this lifestyle. There’s a bottom opening window at the head of the bed and I’d want the two little windows in the back replaced with bottom opening windows so there can be some cross ventilation when it’s raining.

Overall length is 22’ with a 19’ box. I could go with a 21 footer if the foot was cut out of the bed. I don’t need a 5’ wide bed. The extra floor space over my last trailer is a treat. I use it for exercising, stretching and other movements. My Holiday Rambler didn’t have a great floor plan; the Jayco 5th wheel was too big; and the Casita too small for bench work and exercising. If I were less active, a shorter rig would do since I’d pretty much, just be sitting on my butt or lying down most of the time.

This would be my home; I don’t want to be cramped and I don’t want excess space/length. A 22 footer is just right for me. It’s short and light enough to get back off-the-grid. Then I’d just need a shorter wheel base tow vehicle. As I’ve stated in the past, the long wheelbase is more restrictive than the length of my trailer. I still have trouble believing the horrendous turning radius.

I’d choose the same options I got with the Nash but go with 180-200 watts of solar power. I’d also want the double galley sink to be stainless steel and have wider tires on the rig. The six cubic foot refrigerator and two 7gal propane tanks make it easy to live in the trailer for extended stays off-the-grid.

I didn’t want an electric awning but one came standard with the Nash. I like it. I have a concern with it getting stuck in the out-position, however, if I was miles up a dirt road. The manual covers hooking up an auxiliary battery. Yeah fine, but what if the electric motor dies. I emailed the company and they sent back instructions for manually rolling it in. Perfect. But (there’s that word again), it takes two people. Guano. I wish I’d come across a slim, active lady with her own rig who would be up for occasional traveling together and doing a lot of hiking and sharing some meals from time to time. We could help each other out if a problem occurs with one of our rigs. Yeah, right, this is called fantasy.

This imaginary trailer is geared for my lifestyle. If one leans toward the standard, boilerplate RV lifestyle and stays primarily in parks with hookups and limits travel to asphalt and maybe a bit of graded gravel roads one will probably want a bigger rig with slide-outs (which are prone to developing leaks and getting out of alignment when bounced along rough roads and washboards). Been there, done that, didn’t like it. Different strokes. Those with the camper mindset do not want to be pulling a long, heavy rig along miles of dirt roads to get back in off-the-grid and such a rig would surely not be able to get up the spurs.

Okay, back to reality. The Nash 17K will probably be my last RV. BUT (sometimes I like this word), if I win the lottery, I will get a rig from GXV. Such a rig would greatly expand my traveling. The following is some data from their web site.

“GXV offers the most complete line-up of Expedition vehicles built in the United States. These models are the result of years of research and development coupled with countless miles of world travel in the harshest of conditions. Our all wheel drive vehicles, whether it is 4×4, 6×6 or 8×8, are designed to be the strong and easy to service.

“Every GXV body design has been engineered for a specific function and performance requirement. Each model shares common balance, stability, reliability, marine grade utilities, comfortably balanced interior and a huge list of options to meet any requirement.”

I’d get their Patagonia XV.
“The Patagonia XV-Expedition Vehicle … is a true all-purpose toy and gear-hauling machine. A fully enclosed garage provides storage and protection for your ATV or motorcycles (or in my case, mountain bikes). Second row cab seats make it comfortable for four to ride (or in my case, extra storage space). The Patagonia’s roomy body exudes luxury, but yet still functional. With the care to detail that has gone into the engineering and design of the “Patagonia” you can travel with many home amenities.

“The Patagonia is a green thinking, self-reliant, luxury expedition vehicle that can go to places that a typical 4×4 RV could only dream of going. Global Expedition Vehicles are much more than an extreme off-road RV. Whether you have a journey or destination in mind, our vehicles are designed and built for self-reliant travel to remote parts of the continent. With our Expedition Vehicles, count on engineering that will withstand treacherous off-road routes and extreme weather conditions.

“The thermal properties of our Expedition bodies and windows make this the perfect year round adventure vehicle for both hot and cold weather.”

Yep, I could then get up roads that are open to travel, but way too rough for a standard rig. It would open a whole new realm of travel—true boondocking. Way cool. One wouldn’t see me for a month or more at a time. Anyone have some winning powerball numbers you are willing to share?

I came across Dave’s Killer Bread at City Market in Moab. What an unexpected treat. I knew there were gods. Picked up eight loaves for the freezer (one on the door). Sure do like good bread.

Stopped at Heron Lake NMSP for a few days. There was only one other rig in the campground when I got here. They stayed two more nights and then I had the place to myself until I pulled out. Some rain or light snow most days, which made the trails too muddy for running. The kind of mud that builds up under your shoes so you feel like you are walking on stilts. It was pretty slick leaving the cg; had to go into 4-wheel drive to get enough traction to pull the trailer and the first 30 miles were pretty slow. As always, I stopped at Three Ravens Coffee House in Tierra Amarilla to get a stellar mug of high-octane for the road from Paul. Sure do like that place.

October sixty minutes sixty years—2015 minutes
October Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2250; core: 1935; legs: 2380

If you know where you are going (have your sights-to-see list)
you pretty much know what you are going to see.
Where’s the freedom, spice, and adventure in that way of travel?
Makes no sense to me.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Thursday, October 24, 2013

back in Utah, mutant fungus,
room with a view, and mega box

I don’t think we’re in Oregon anymore, Meadow and Mesa.

Living on wheels doesn’t always lend itself to a schedule or itinerary (not that I care). I pulled off onto some BLM land one afternoon in Idaho. It was not great but not too bad (except for the flies). I got up the next morning and intended to sit and have a large mug of yerba mate and do some reading, since I planned for a very short drive to the next spot. Anyhow, when I got up I heard thunder and saw lightning so I thought it best to go right out, back the truck and hook up the weight-distribution hitch. I was two minutes from finishing up when it started to hail. I was two miles down this road with pretty bad washboards and maybe a quarter mile of loose, rutty hill down to the lake, where I was camped. I thought it would be smart to get up the hill and out towards the asphalt before the road got too slick. I then pulled over and heated up a mug of my morning drink. Since it was raining, I then just headed out.
South of Jackpot, I didn’t think I could get up the road I was shooting for. Also, I wasn’t at all sure if it was even the correct road. It was cold and raining so I just kept driving rather than find a spot and end up sitting most of the day in the trailer. I like to do the drives on poor days to be outside. As I was driving (& maybe because of the dreary weather), I decided to pass up on my intended route down to Ely and ended the day in Utah. Wasn’t even a consideration when I got out of bed. Go figure. I was up at 7627’ near Scofield. It snowed a little one night but there was a pretty good place for hiking so I stayed in the area for a few days.

It looks like a mushroom. It feels like a mushroom. It tastes like a mushroom (just joking). I came across this one morning while out hiking. I have no idea what it is. Maybe there is an old uranium mine nearby and this is just a plain, old mutant mushroom.

I wanted to check out a couple spots north of Moab but it didn’t work out. Next year, for sure. I drove to a spot I came across last year while out on a run. It was 9 miles in from the asphalt and the roads had water damage from the heavy rains they have had in the area (at least there were no washboards!). I like the spot (6233’). I checked out the map and went off on my mountain bike and realized there was a shorter way to come in, only 6 miles off the asphalt and quite a few miles less on highways to Moab. Maybe I can get Glen and Lisa to bring their Scamp out for a bit. Only saw one road crew truck while driving in and no one was on the lower road the first two weeks I’ve been here. Not bad. Hope to spend a month here and maybe move to another spot. Plenty of choices for hiking and running in the area.

You can see why I wanted a big back window. Talk about a room with a view.

M&M are all over the rocks on our walks. And after a walk, the table is generally their spot to recharge.

When I first started spending time in the desert, I was surprised by all the nightlife. Even now, when I go off in the morning for an hour or so, the number and variety of new animal tracks is quite impressive. Pretty cool. I get a smile out of it.

I have my stack of cowpies by my fire pan, so I’m all set for the evening.

While up north, I was told about Dave’s Killer Bread. Absolutely stellar bread, wish it was distributed in the southwest. Expensive, but well worth it. Don’t know how many loaves I ate this summer; probably went through a loaf and a half a week. I really do like good bread.
Check out his story on
I packed 6 loaves into the freezer before leaving Oregon. The old Boy Scout thing again.

When I first started using solar shower bags, one only lasted a couple months, not even a whole summer. Or I should say, I trashed it in a couple months. Now I know how to plan for its weaknesses and maintain it. My most recent bag lasted nearly 15 months (I don’t use it from sometime in October or November to sometime in March or April). Not bad. There were even some mornings when it was a block of ice, when I forgot to bring it in and put it on the floor of the shower. No way I could do this lifestyle without a solar bag.

A pickup pulled up one morning and Glen stepped out. Remember I’ve mentioned that he is about the only person (other than Janet) who I listen to when he suggests a place to camp. Even after talking with people, they still do not comprehend the type of places I look for. Unreal. Anyway, we went off for a hike and I thought I was in trouble right from the get-go. Glen hikes ALL the time. We probably didn’t go 100’ and I was already 20’ behind. I adjusted to his faster pace and had a fabulous time. We went down into the area that is in the above photo looking out the back window of the Nash. It blew me away how close the water and cottonwoods were. I had no idea. The hiking here is phenomenal. We weren’t on trails. One works your way down the bedrock, meandering while looking for the best route; when down in the canyon, you’re stepping back and forth over the stream, ducking under limbs, stepping over brush, and when working up out of a canyon, there might be a little backtracking if a route dies out. All at Glen’s pace. A much more vigorous way of hiking than I’m use to. Pretty cool. Luckily it was only a little over 2 hours. Glen generally goes for much longer hikes (and he’s a few years older than me!). I’m going to start to pick up my hiking pace a bit above my comfort level. The hike sure felt good but I started to drag at the end. Thanks Glen.

M&M might possibly have the largest litter box to be found in an RV. Remember I had gotten a 10gal tub for them since Meadow stands up while peeing? Outside, she squats. What a twit. No way was I going to get one of those small covered litter boxes (cats must hate those). Anyway, in the 10gal, she could get pretty close to the top edge while squirting. Not good. The 18 is a couple inches higher. I’m thinking maybe next summer, I can empty out the litter, fill it with water, and take a bath. (^–^) M&M seem to really appreciate the new box. They can be out for 2-3 hours and when they come in—they head for the box. You had plenty of time to do that OUTSIDE! I also gave away the new bed I bought them since they wouldn’t use it. Over $40 gone. I’m going to have to try and remember why I like felines.

Meadow and Mesa sleep over 12 hours a day. They have their food prepared for them and their meals are provided at no cost. They visit the doctor once a year for a checkup, and again during the year, if any medical needs arise. For this they pay nothing, and nothing is required of them.
They live in nice neighborhoods in a home that is much larger than they need, but they are not required to do any upkeep. If they make a mess, someone else cleans it up. They have their choice of comfortable places to sleep. They receive these accommodations absolutely free. They live like royalty, and have absolutely no expenses whatsoever. All of their costs are picked up by another. I’m thinkin’ this can probably apply to more than pets.

I was going through my tote of 25 cent paperbacks I picked up last winter that I still have not read and pulled out one I had forgotten about, an oldie but goodie—Dune by Frank Herbert. I first read it back in the 70s so I did not remember anything about it other than there were sand and giant worms. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it again.

It’s good to be out in the sticks. One of my favorite aspects of this lifestyle is going off early morning for a run or hike in a new area; checking out the sights, sounds, smells, wildlife, topography, and whatnot. Exploring areas not accessed by motor vehicles. I go out the door looking to see what the day has got in store for me. It feels good; it’s a good lifestyle, and I’m healthier than I should be. Not bad.

I like the way days shorten more quickly at sunset this time of year. There is not the lingering twilight effect of summer nights. Twilight fades quickly now. The sky is dark less than 90 minutes after sunset. Nice. And being away from city lights, the night sky is like a vaulted dome of stars. This lifestyle has its pros and cons but the pros have the edge.

When going off for a hike, I generally head uphill. Or in areas like this, pretty much stay within a 50’ of the starting elevation and hike to an overlook and merely look down into a canyon or wash. Now after hiking with Glen, from time to time, I’ve been heading off downhill. Strange, but it has opened up a new perspective for me. I also find myself, on occasion, sitting down on my butt and scootin’ down a rock slope on feet, butt and hands. Yet another aspect of ‘hiking’ I was not used to. Sure glad I wear BDUs with a double-layer butt. The offset of this, however, is at the end of the hike, when I’m tired, I’m hiking uphill. Guano.

Well, there’s another page of mishmash. I wonder what November will bring.

September sixty minutes sixty years—2100 minutes
September Triple 18—pecs/delts: 1900; core: 2095; legs: 3780

When I asked for all things, so that I might enjoy life…
I was given life, so that I might enjoy all things.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

my first chicks, apprehension
and a little help

It’s getting near the equinox, so as I wrote last month, time to purchase my first flock of chicks through Now I’ll be purchasing 2 goats and 2 flocks of chicks a year for families who could use a bit of assistance. Not bad; I wish more would make such a commitment.

Well, I had a 100watt solar panel added to the 60watt already up on the roof and the 160watts are enough to take care of my needs. Sure is nice to see the batteries fully charged most days. The dealer replaced the solar controller but not with an upgrade, just another OEM. This second controller is starting to do the same things as the last one. Bummer. I’ll see what can be done about it.

Last month while rolling into a national forest, I felt apprehensive. I’m driving along checking out spur roads, looking for a place to set up camp. I’m noticing how parched everything is; the grass looks like straw. On town runs, I’d been hearing about fires in this part of the state and in other areas. It was the first time I did not want to drive miles up dirt roads, getting away from the asphalt. But this is what I live for. This is my realm—and now I’m uneasy about going into the areas where I can find solitude. This is not good. But it’s not as if I can take it up with Mother Nature.

I’m still not the type of person who would have a ‘bucket list,’ but as you know, I did have a lifestyle I wanted to try, hence, my ‘bucket life.’ I’m still enjoying it, but its been getting somewhat restricted. Some rangers enforce the 14-day limit for disperse campers and RVers. Bummer. It’s not as if I’m just squatting on federal land (well yes, I know, according to the rules, I am) but this is where I set up camp and go off to do my kind of traveling. You’ve seen squatters out there—they tend to be slugs, just sitting around their camp. During the time I’m in an area, I spend days and rack up miles on my running shoes, hiking boots and mountain bike. I get to know the area for miles around. This is how I get to know a place; for a time, it becomes my realm. Oh well, it’s something I can live with. Then there is the National Forest Service Travel Management Program, closing (to motor vehicles) many of the spur roads that I used to go up looking for spots to camp. I also contributed to restricting my lifestyle—by getting a long-wheelbase tow vehicle. The poor turning radius makes it impossible to maneuver into some spots where I would like to camp. Going to a longer trailer has not been as restricting as one would think.

Now there’s concern with forest fires. Good grief, almost makes one want to stay in campgrounds. Wish I knew of some secluded spots along a creek. ‘Secluded’ being the key word. I’ve been in areas where NOAA tacked on fire updates to their weather forecast. This is a good thing. I have not been able to access NOAA, however, in any of the areas I’ve been camping this summer.

Well, I think I’ll soon start to meander south. I’ll check out the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest outside Ely, Nevada and then Great Basin National Park. Early October should put me in the Moab area where I’ll probably stay until the end of November. Like I’ve said, there’s no one out there at that time of year. Well, maybe in campgrounds, but not out in the areas where I’ve been disperse camping the last few years.

Okay, I could use a little help here since I have not lived with a TV for most of my adult life. Last winter I ordered another season of BBC’s Doctor Who and it worked really well for my lifestyle. I don’t want to order movies on DVD (but I’ve made a few exceptions) because it’s like a one-shot viewing (a long one, an hour and a half or more), but the time frame of TV programs is perfect, 45 minutes a shot. I’m getting more like my friend Lynn, ‘Okay, I’ve sat here long enough, time to get up and do something else.’ This winter I plan to order another season of Doctor Who and maybe one of Cheers. It took me three months to watch the season of Doctor Who (& it was only 14 shows); I don’t sit down and watch an episode all that often. So, any suggestions for other TV shows I might want to look into? Lynn suggested House and Bones. Any others? How about BBC shows? I really would appreciate suggestions.

Sure been doing more hiking this summer than most others.
August sixty minutes sixty years—2400 minutes
August Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2052; core: 2415; legs: 3110

Cancer does not kill most of us;
lack of exercise and a poor diet do.
Yep, true. Sounds like a dumbass way to die.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

$1000 town run for groceries, option error,
a flock of chicks, one cowpie,
and a lookout

Still haven’t seen much wildlife in this area. I did see the pronghorns once again and these little guys came scootin’ by one evening.

It’s been hot so I put the reflectix panel in the back window for the hours the sun is hitting it. M&M are back to using the ramp up to the window cage since their little spare tire window is covered. The ramp looks kinda strange but it works well and they readily go up and down it.

When I make a town run, I close the windows and crank the roof vents down most of the way. Partly for security (as if a 12 year old couldn’t break into a trailer) and partly in case it rains. I’ve left under clear skies and come back in pouring rain. If the day is going to be hot, I put food and water out for M&M and leave them outside so they can find cool spots. Remember, we’re not in campgrounds.
That done, I loaded the Dodge with laundry, MacBook, town bag and whatnot, and went to pull away from camp. No power steering (I had no idea it could be such a problem). I looked in the fluid reservoir—no power steering fluid. A few miles up dirt roads, twenty miles from a town and, as no surprise, no cellphone coverage. Anyway, I headed for town. 3-point turns had a new meaning—they only gave me 90 degrees. I was hoping I could make the left turn at the light in town without being too disruptive. I filled up the reservoir in town and it seemed to take care of things (the gods were merely playing with me). I pulled over to look for the leak but the fluid was not just coming from a leak in a line or connection. I ended up at a garage that a local recommended. Unlike most trucks, mine has the rack & pinion connected to the tie rods like on passenger cars. Not exactly the best configuration for pulling a trailer down rough dirt roads. The mechanic drove me the 20 miles back to camp and a week later brought the Dodge up. In the past, all this would probably have been somewhat stressful to me but I wasn’t really dwelling on it. That first evening, however, I’m sitting outside and it dawned on me that this is fire season and I have no means of evacuating with my trailer. Now THAT, was somewhat unsettling. I’ll be purchasing 2 cat carriers and picking up my large Lowe backpack from my 5x8 when I get back to southern NM—the old Boy Scout thing.

Well, I made one mistake with the Nash options. The solar system on my last rig worked fine and since I don’t use all that many amps in a day, I didn’t put much thought into the system I ordered for the Nash. I had one 50watt panel along with one 12V battery in the Casita. There was no trouble keeping the charge above 12.25 and it was generally 12.6 or 12.7. I rarely had to run the Honda 1000 to charge the battery and then for only an hour or two.
Now I know that a 60watt panel will not bring up and maintain two 6V batteries at a full charge. But recently I’ve been checking the batteries and their charge does not always jive with the solar control panel so I’m hoping the panel is the problem. I have to pull the Honda out once or twice a week, and after running it for 4 hours the charge only gets up to 12.6 (& once 12.7). In two hours without using anything in the trailer other than the drain from the built in devices, the charge drops to 12.5. After only using 2 LED lights for 3 hours in the evening, the solar controller reads 12.2 or less when I got up the next morning. I don’t know about this stuff but it seems like something is wrong. The solar charge controller never worked properly right from the get-go and the company is already on their 2nd revision since I got the trailer. Sounds like a faulty controller. Maybe it is somehow restricting the charge or is more of a drain than it should be. I tried to get some insight from a book on maintaining 12V systems but I remain clueless. If any of you have some ideas or are open to some questions I have, please email me.

I have an appointment next week to have an additional solar panel installed on the roof and, hopefully, the dealer will replace the solar charge controller.
Since I’m away from my rig most mornings and random times during the day, I did not want to go with portable, ground panels. So we’ll see. I HATE running a generator!

Jim and Barb. I’m set up in a nice quiet spot, so I pulled out your ‘Stories From the Vinyl CafĂ©.’ I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I thought it was going to be all Dave & Morley stories (which are good) but it is so much more. Not the kind of stories Stuart would tell on his weekly program. I love getting caught off guard in a good way. Thanks again for the book.

Something I did not pick up on when I started contributing to Heifer International was their tradition of ‘Pass on the Gift.’ “Each family who receives the gift of livestock and training in its care agrees that they will ‘pass on’ one of their animal’s offspring to another family…who also agrees to Pass on the Gift, and so on, for generation after generation. This requirement allows Heifer to reach many more people in need than would otherwise be possible.”

I’ll continue to purchase a goat each solstice. And for each equinox, I decided to contribute a flock of chicks. The following paragraph from their site sold me on the idea.

“A flock of chicks can help families add nourishing, life-sustaining eggs to their inadequate diets. The protein in just one egg is a nutritious gift for a hungry child. Protein-packed eggs from even a single chicken can make a life-saving difference. Heifer helps many hungry families with a starter flock of 10 to 50 chicks. A good hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year - plenty to eat, share or sell. With Heifer recipients' commitment to pass on the offspring and training, the exponential impact of adding chickens to communities in poverty is truly a model that helps end hunger and poverty. Because chickens require little space and can thrive on readily available food scraps, families can make money from the birds without spending much. And chickens help control insects and fertilize gardens.”

This paragraph is for cat people. You have or have had a cat who covers up messes made by other animals. Mesa is one. I woke up one night to the sound of munching. I looked out and saw a number of cows grazing in the moonlight. Come morning, I let M&M out and followed them a couple minutes later. A cow had dropped a pie 20’ straight out from the door. And there was Mesa, scooping grass and dirt onto the pie with a forepaw. A COW PIE! I rarely start the day off with a laugh but this was the funniest thing I’ve seen this summer.

Out biking one morning I came across the Dry Soda Lookout. I stopped, went up to the gate and met Sandy. She was about to open the tower and invited me along. I’m scared of heights but there was no way I was going to pass up this opportunity. Steepest stairs I’ve ever climbed. The last section was pretty much a ladder. I’ve been up a tower before, probably back in the Adirondacks, but only to the trap door since the lookout was closed for the season. This was the first time I got to go inside.
One picture is of an Osborne Fire Finder. I thought they would be high-tech by now but they still use the Osborne—tried and true, simple, and works well. My kind of thinking.

Sandy has been working lookout towers for 20 years. Prior to that she fought fires. I had a great time talking with her. I can’t see myself working again but if I came across an opening for such a position, I would probably go for it. Since I enjoy solitude and the outdoors so much, it would be worth trying. I heard these jobs were hard to come by but Sandy said there are some available from time to time. She heard of two where, after a short time, the people just up and quite, and another that they could not find someone to fill. Hmm.

The winch drops to a large bucket. There is a propane line running up the tower to run the stove, fridge, and heater and a bank of batteries to run all the radios. With the bed over in a corner, it would be easy to live up there but most people park their RV down below and spend the nights there. But some lookouts are accessed by roads too rough to get an RV up.

July sixty minutes sixty years—1900 minutes
July Triple 18—pecs/delts: 1935; core: 2040; legs: 2195

Once the game is over, the king and the pawn
go back into the same box.
forgot which novel I got this from

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

this and that and my 2nd goat

When it is warm, this is a typical evening scene. I’m on a low rider, Meadow is on the stool shelf and Mesa is on the director chair. If it’s hot, once the pickup’s metal cools down, Mesa is spread out on the roof or hood.

Lynn sent me this jpg. Almost makes me want to get a beater bike and do something like this. Three bikes might be a bit much, however.

Now this is a stellar idea for a houseboat. I could definitely live the life. I’d keep the small runabout, replace the two motorboats with a canoe and a scull, and build a vegetable garden on part of the deck. Sweet. I’ve seen photos of trailers on rafts; people use them for getaway spots. That could be pretty cool.

Except for the first week with the Nash (it was warm), I lit the Wave 6 every morning until the 28th of June. June! Then there was mostly blue sky with temps up in the 80s and then into the 90s for a week or so. Went from having two windows open a bit during the night to having all the windows and roof vents open all the way. I sorta missed the transition this year.

I’ve read one or two books by Barbara Kingsolver over the years, so when I saw The Bean Tree in a thrift shop for .25, I picked it up. When I got around to reading it, I started with the reviews on the first page, ‘An astonishing literary debut…’ What! I then looked at the copyright—1988. It was her first book, pretty cool. A good read.
I recently dug out my copy of The Holy Man by Susan Trott. The title originally put me off since I don’t believe in religion, but I thoroughly enjoy rereading this little book from time to time. I might not believe in religion but I most assuredly believe in a universal consciousness. If one is tied to a dogma, the mind cannot be free to work towards being in harmony with the universe and understand the true nature of things. Not that I will ever be close.

Well, the ramp was pretty much a bust. M&M don’t use it all that much. Just like with my last trailer, M&M jump onto the spare to let me know they want in. With the Nash, the little window there has a screen that slides so I used some of the heavy ‘pet proof’ screening that Lynn gave me and made a flap for the window. Now they just go in and out the window. UNLESS, they have found a place to roll in the dirt. Then the screen stays closed.

Well, I’m in the Malheur National Forest south of John Day. There are no established trails in the areas where I’ve been camping but there is quite a network of cow paths, old logging roads, and little used and closed spur roads. I’m in travel mode, racking up the miles. I see pronghorn from time to time but I have not been able to get close enough for a photo. I come across elk droppings but I haven’t seen any yet, not even on my runs, which is when I generally see the most wildlife. Strange. There’s a steep 2-mile hill that I bike up a couple times a week. Definitely not easy but it shows me how far I’ve come from a time in my 50s when I couldn’t walk up two flights of stairs.

I could really do without the ticks. Some evenings while reading outside, I’ll catch a tick climbing up my pants. I’ve found some inside the trailer but as far as I can see, none yet on Meadow or Mesa. A couple mornings I’ve noticed one dug into my skin. Thankfully, they were in spots where I could reach them with tweezers. I prefer removing the buggers with a technique a doctor showed me rather than one of the folksy methods. Now I shake my clothes outside and check myself and M&M over twice a day. I’d hate to have one where I could not get to it. Maybe I should look for a lady to travel with.

This is the fourth spot I’ve set up camp in this area. I’ve spent hours out biking the forest roads looking for spots to camp but most of the smaller spur roads are either closed or too rough to get a trailer in. I already have marks on the Nash from branches scraping along the both sides on the tighter roads. I try to be careful, but it IS, a ‘recreation’ vehicle. Those with mobile condos would freak.
This spot, as you can see, with the wood and overhead pole for hanging game is a hunter’s camp. There were no fresh tire tracks going up this short, dead end spur and there was dried cow spat in the fire pit. It doesn’t look like this spot has been used yet this summer. So I’m hoping no one will show up for a couple more weeks. I have not seen another RV or camper for the last six weeks.

Dwarf mistletoe has infected a lot of the ponderosa pine and juniper is this area. It’s not the larger species one sees down in NM and AZ. I have not come across it before. It’s nasty. It is entirely dependent on its host tree so death of the tree also means death of the mistletoe, so mistletoe tend to coexist with their hosts. But it sure looks like the stuff is killing the trees. It morphs into an ugly dark moss. The lower bark turns black, the wood rots, and the tree falls over exposing dead roots. Some sections of forest look so sick one could easily use the location to film a horror movie.

If there are deer or cows close by and Meadow and/or Mesa is outside, we’re going to have visitors. These cows in the shadow of the trailer are checking out Meadow. If I see cows coming, I take a quick look around camp because they can sure slobber and if they step on something—it’s broke. Yep, talkin’ from experience here.

Remember I talked about meeting Larry and Judy this past winter? They are from Illinois and were traveling in a Casita. One of the many things we talked about was the two RV companies I was looking into. They looked into the trailers, sold their Casita and bought an OutdoorsRV Creek Side. I was glad to hear they are pleased with it.
Ted, from Montana, checks out my site from time to time and followed along as I was researching a new trailer. We started emailing and talking on the phone. After doing his own research, he decided to sell his Casita and purchase a Nash 17K. He tracked down the dealer with the best price (that earned him a bottle of wine). The dealer also cut us a deal since we were ordering two trailers. I met Ted and Judith just before we picked up our trailers in Oregon. He’s also quite pleased with it.
I guess no one will be out to shoot me.

I almost wish I had switched back to a regular trailer 2 or 3 years ago. I spaced out what they were like and was content with the Casita. Then again, I would not have been able to camp in some of the spots I was able to get into with the Casita. Oh well, probably could not have worked out better. Sure glad to get back to double axles.

I bought my second solstice goat through Gotta keep the ‘man in the mirror’ doing his small part in helping the earth and a few less fortunate. I’ll be starting something else with World Vision; just haven’t decided exactly what yet.

June sixty minutes sixty years—1935 minutes
Not bad; I started Diana’s challenge in June of 2011 and have not missed a month. I think Diana is on her fourth year. It’s a stellar way to take responsibility for one’s health. And if you are like me, once you get through the first month, it becomes addictive.
June Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2410; core: 1985; legs: 1800

Everybody thinks about getting fit, but thinking is of no benefit.
Erick Spector

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

feel it, la grande, thunder rv, bobolink,
options, sun, snow!
and tweaked for us

I pass through some fabulous areas but, unlike most, I don’t get much from seeing awesome scenery through the windshield. To me it’s like watching a movie; I’m just sittin’ there on my butt. Does anyone really think looking up at a mountain is more impressive than looking out from a trail near the top or from a ridgeline? And as I’ve said before, it’s not as if the most majestic scenery is along the asphalt. It’s certainly beautiful—but I don’t feel anything. I need to be out in it—hiking, running or mountain biking. I need to have all my senses open to Nature. I get a charge out of feeling my heart pumping and my muscles working. That’s when I feel most alive and in-touch with the outdoors. Running along a single track in the early morning while taking it all in makes this lifestyle truly special for me. And it’s stellar incentive to keep active. Different strokes—but not bad for a senior.
Once off the two-lane blacktop, my traveling begins.

Sometimes deer came walking by in the evenings. M&M and I walked down to a spring one day and spooked these elk.

I ordered the Nash 17K through Thunder RV in La Grande. Caleb was easy to work with and it felt real comfortable being around the place while picking up the trailer, having the WDH put on and whenever I went back with questions. Wayne, the service tech, was a great help. Overall, a good experience and a dealership I would recommend if one is interested in a Nash or Arctic Fox.

It took two days to get everything packed away in the Nash and give the Casita a final cleaning. M&M were doing their usual wandering around and, from time to time, climbed into the Nash to scope it out. Late afternoon, I snagged them and put them in the Nash so they had all evening and night to begin to feel at home. Everything of theirs was in there but it took a while for them to adjust, especially Meadow. It took a move to another camping spot. M&M got out of the Dodge, looked around, and only saw the Nash, no Casita. It finally seemed to click that this was their home.

I spent a week outside La Grande making sure everything was working in the Nash and looking for anything that needed fixing. I waxed the outside so I could go over every square inch of the sidewalls looking for faults and check the caulking around the windows and door. I went up on the roof and checked every inch of caulking and the rubber roof.

It was a waste of time checking the rubber roof. Mesa is up there all the time. The window cage sits too high for him to jump up and grab like he did on our last trailer. So he had some thinking to do (I think he has some raccoon blood). Now he gets about 3’ from the trailer, jumps forward and up as high as he can, pushes off the sidewall to gain another few inches, twists 90 degrees, grabs the side of the window cage, climbs up on top and jumps onto the roof. Good grief. How did he figure out rebounding off the side of the trailer would give him the extra inches to reach the cage?!

I like the town of La Grande, especially the downtown section. The Bobolink store is definitely worth checking out. Trent, the owner, has been in business 10 years and has a variety of interests, as one can easily see as you walk into his store. On the right is a row of chain cages for disc golf. From what I hear, you probably don’t want to challenge him to a game (unless he’ll spot you 50 points). Most of the shop reflects his main interest of birds (hence the name). He carries a great shoulder/chest strap for not only carrying your binoculars but it also provides stable support when viewing. He’s pretty well known and people come from out of state for his ‘avitours.’

Trent also has coolers with absolutely stellar craft beers. I’ve been to the store twice and left both times with beer he recommended and have been quite pleased. Almost makes me want to move to La Grande. Since I found out about barley wine down in NM, I keep my eyes open for it and now Trent has me trying imperial IPA (just as good). The last one was Gubna Imperial IPA from Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, CO. If I lived in the area, I would definitely have to run more miles each week.
Trent comes across as quite knowledgeable in all three areas. Not bad. Will definitely be going back. I love coming across funky little shops like this.

La Grande has a Bi Mart, Walmart, Bronson hardware (1x7’ plank for M&M’s ramp, PVC for the support and reflectix for window insulation), D&B Supply (great selection of stuff including horse blankets for seat covers), Thunder RV for supplies and service, library, two laundromats, and much more but still with a small town feel. Well, not a real small town; not with an interstate going through it, but still. La Grande is an easy place to resupply and to get something worked on if in the area. Their Safeway has a good selection of wine. I’ve been enjoying red blends lately, such as, Apothic Red and Gnarly Head’s Authentic Red. Pretty tasty. I do enjoy a glass or two of wine in the evening while reading, or a glass of beer, before my nightly large mug of tea.

One way I can pretty much tell I’ve left AZ and NM is by the chili selection in the grocery stores. Shriveled and puckered, most look as if they have been lying in the bins for two weeks. Jalapenos were $3.99/lb! Good grief. I’ve learned to plan ahead and brought along 10 bags of dried piquin and tepines, 2 bags of hot chili powder and 2 large bags of hot chili pods. Not fresh, but they get me through the summers.

The Northwood factory is in La Grande (as well as Outdoors RV manufacturing) and offers a tour each weekday at 11:00. Most of the people in my group were interested in the Arctic Fox models so most of the tour was spent in that area. The sidewall construction of the Arctic Fox models is first rate. They also have aluminum framing, which I prefer, and rigid foam rather than batten insulation. I did not like any of the floorplans, however, and they have all the extra stuff most RVers look for in a mobile condo. Nevertheless, they are beautiful, well-made trailers that, judging from what I saw at the factory, much more of a true 4-season rig than the Nash. Still, the Nash is a better choice for my lifestyle. I’m glad I got it, and I would make the same choice again.

For me, as a camper who travels dirt roads, I did not want a rig with fine wood cabinets, solid countertops, and whatnot. I had all that in my 5th wheel, along with beautiful oak flooring in the kitchen and plush green carpeting in the other areas. This time I wanted a light-weight, quality trailer without the standard RV frills. About the only frou-frou the Nash came with were the side valances on the windows, which I took down. A camper looks at them and thinks, dust magnet. I was surprised how much their removal brightened up the inside.

I moved from living in a mere 95 square feet up to an immense 152 square feet dwelling. For the first week, I carried a floorplan in my pocket in case I got lost. I used to enjoy living in larger spaces but now that I’ve been back to living in small spaces, I have no urge to live in anything else. And having 2 felines in my small space adds oodles of texture to the experience.

Last month I listed the options I ordered for the Nash. Here I’ll go over some that I chose not to get, even though they are popular choices.

A/C - During hot months I go for elevation, and since I’m not in campgrounds, I can always set up in shade if I so choose. Both factors nix the need for an A/C. There’s always the Fantastic fan to call into play if necessary. Remember, I pulled the A/C off my last trailer because I was not using it.

Stabilizers, front and rear - The first thing that jumped out at me when I finally got to see a Nash 17K were the stabilizers. They hung down WAY too low. Some of the spur roads I travel have close, short, steep hills and the rear stabilizers, more than likely, would get bent (like on my last trailer). Besides, the 4 wheels and jack offer 5 points of stabilization. If the rig gets rockin’ in the open desert, I might get 2 screw jacks from an auto parts store to handle it (but probably not). I’m not bothered by a little motion from time to time. Maybe I spent too much time in boats.

Exterior marine grade stereo speakers—good grief.
LCD TV—ditto.

Rear ladder and roof rack – I probably have a phobia for water leaks in RVs. I did not want any extra holes drilled into the sidewall, let alone through the rubber membrane on the roof. I know, I know, just about every RV has a rear ladder. And it’s fine if one keeps an eye on the caulking and tightness of the ladder screws. I only go up on the roof 3 or 4 times a year; I don’t need a rear ladder and roof rack and I most assuredly, don’t want extra holes in the roof and back wall. Besides, I would need a second ladder anyway, so why have two? I need one for washing/waxing the sidewalls and checking caulking around windows and door. AND, I found the BEST ladder (in my most humble opinion), at least, for this size trailer—the Telesteps model 612FC. This is not their standard design whose upper sections drop into the lower sections. The 612FC is a 5 ½’ A-frame ladder that can be used for working on the sidewalls. It also locks open to an 11 ½’ straight ladder for getting on the roof. Pretty cool.
Granted, my choices aren’t the norm, but that's to be expected. Occasionally, some even follow up on a suggestion.

The Olympian Wave 6 is rated to heat 230 sq. ft., with three adjustments from 3,200 – 6,000 BTUs. I wanted a Wave 8 but one was not readily available. The Nash is only 152 sq. ft. but I don’t think the 6 will be enough. I’ve heated my last trailer (95 sq. ft.) with two 3,000 BTU propane catalytic heaters when it was down in the teens and single digits and windy, and 6,000 BTUs was barely adequate. We’ll see. Besides, I’m supposed to be using the furnace to heat the enclosed area around the tanks (even though the black and white will be empty and the gray will only have 4 or 5 gallons at the most).

The 17K came with something called an ‘oven.’ Don’t know what it’s used for. A friend told me an oven is where Alice B. Toklas brownies come from. So I open the door from time to time—but no brownies. There must be more to it; I’ll have to ask her to elaborate.

Since it’s just me, I only use the galley sink. I attached a mirror on the inside of an overhead cabinet door that I use for shaving (it needed a wedge behind it). Just like in my last trailer, I use the bathroom sink for a fruit bowl. Works well.

I will not be using the shower so I put up an expandable rod (no place for hangers in the 17K), a clothesline, took down the curtain and put clothespins on the hooks. Siscily painted these clothespins.

I installed a cat door in the bathroom door and put the litterbox in the shower stall and M&M’s food and water next to the fruit bowl. This, however, gives Mesa the opportunity to be a twit. If he hears Meadow go into the bathroom, he goes over to sit outside the door so he can jump on her when she comes back out through the door. Who needs a TV?

Remember Theresa gave me three garlic cloves and five basil plants when I passed through Moab in October? You can see the garlic plants made it through the winter, but I only managed to keep one of the five basil plants alive. Sorry Theresa. I covered them whenever I felt the inside of the trailer was going to drop down into the 20’s by morning but it wasn’t enough. It’s sure a treat to have fresh garlic greens and basil.
I bought a 2 ½” piece of PVC, wrapped it with sisal rope (as in my last trailer) and put it around the narrow table leg for a scratching post.
I purchased a new bed for M&M. They won’t use it! I’ll be dropping it off at a thrift store.

The dealer filled the water tank and I used the system to be sure it works. I found myself using way too much water however, even being careful to keep the flow light. After using up the water in the tank, I went back to my preferred method with just a 4-gallon Reliance jug in the galley so I’m now back to my two-gallons-a-day of water use.

With my lifestyle, one thing I’m thankful for is campgrounds. It’s pretty much a given, that if one goes ‘camping,’ they will go to a campground, be it a national forest, BLM, state, private, county, or national park. They plan their route and know where they will spend each night. A few, more adventurous individuals, drive up national forest or BLM roads, pull off to the side and set up camp (not much better). Comparatively few go down spur roads off the primary forest roads looking for more secluded spots. Campgrounds do a great job keeping most people off the spurs and away from the kind of places where I like to set up camp. Because of this and that, it took quite a while this year before I got back into my kind of camping.

I’m gettin’ kinda spoiled. I was driving down a narrow spur road that some vehicles had driven through when it was muddy and now there were hardened deep ruts. The Nash just took them in stride, no problem. My last trailer would have been rockin’ and bouncin’, throwing stuff around inside (even though packed away for a moving day).

If the daytime temps are below the mid-70s, I set-up in the sun. I want early morning sun coming in my back windows first thing in the morning to warm up the rig. Just before it’s warm enough, a number of things that can be done to keep the trailer cool for the rest of the day without resorting to an A/C or fans. Most people wait too long before tweaking the rig from warming it up to keeping it cool. You’ll see RVs parked in shade even in cooler weather. It’s as if the idea of ‘camping’ equates with setting up in shade. "Why use natural means of cooling and heating your rig when you have A/C and a furnace?" Unreal. But then again, it’s not like these people have much of a working knowledge of camping skills.

I’m presently in the Wallowa Whitman national forest and it’s been flurrying for three days. There’s also been way more rain than I’m used to. You can see where M&M have been spending most of their time. They look out a window, see those flakes and go right back to sleep.
Some nights have been down in the 20’s (30’s in the Nash when I get up in the morning to turn on the furnace or Wave). Puddles outside are frozen over. It’s the end of May as I’m writing this. Sure glad summer is coming.

The windows have a ¾” lip around the inside of the frame. I cut reflectix panels to fit each window so I’ll be ready for cold weather in the fall. I also bought some thermoback curtains that I will cut to size, hem and hang. I’ll rig something so I can quickly hang them up on cold nights. I would not want them up all the time. This should be enough to handle all the glass. After winters in my last trailer, just about anything will be an improvement.

I like the bow trusses on the Nash. There won’t be any standing water up on the roof. My friend David, from Bisbee, suggested I should harvest rainwater, if there is an opportunity when I’m disperse camping for an extended stay. I won’t even have to run hoses from the Nash’s rainspouts. With the crowned roof and rain gutters, the water pours down straight from the rainspouts. I would just jack up the trailer a bit so the water comes off the back two and place buckets underneath. Nice and easy.
However, my solar panel was mounted on the slope rather than at the top of the hump. So more than half the time, the panel is sloped away from the sun. Not good. At some point, I might extend the two lower legs so it lies flat. You will always hear it is best to tilt the panel towards the sun. My last panel stayed flat and I rarely did not get an adequate charge. But I think it had better cells than my present panel. It’s not really an issue since I don’t use much electricity. RVers need way more juice.

I will be heading down to the Dale area to spend a couple weeks in the Umatilla national forest. Afterwards, I’ll probably go south a bit to the mountains around John Day and those west of Mount Vernon for most of the summer. We’ll see. I have not been to this area so I have no idea what I will find. But all I need is spur roads and the Oregon DeLorme shows quite a few in these areas. I REALLY do not want to do much driving until I start to head south for the winter. I’m still maxed out from the trip north.

May sixty minutes sixty years—2100 minutes
May Triple 18—pecs/delts: 1925; core: 1810; legs: 1915

Don’t water your weeds.
Harvey MacKay

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’