Monday, December 15, 2014

Buddha, felis catus and cervidae, first nuke,
two sides of dull, spaces in-between, printers,
car talk, and a singing nun



I stayed in southern Utah later than I have in previous years; it’s sure beautiful. I was trying to prolong the time of freedom before getting back to the state parks. They aren’t bad, just restrictive. Well, the showers can be bad. One park has the showers turned off by the time I get there and three of the other five parks I tend to use have pretty poor showers. Guano. But, I most assuredly need my annual social fix. Meeting new people and touching base with those I’ve come to know over past winters. It would be way unhealthy to always hard-wall camp off-the-grid with no one around to talk with.

I eventually get acclimated to RVing each winter; it’s just strange. Neighbors, people always around, numerous rigs, outside night lights, noise, dogs, designated parking spots, close to a city; typical realm of the full-timer. I generally find it dull. Maybe not so much dull as mundane, common, almost has the feel of living in a trailer park or having a place in town. What I value in my lifestyle is not here.

On the other hand, most would find my preferred lifestyle dull. Out where no one’s around, solitude, quiet, wildlife, awesome night sky, a few miles from the asphalt, quite a ways from a town, and mostly physical forms of entertainment, such as hiking without trails. Different strokes and I thank the gods it’s so. Then in the eight months I’m out of the parks, most go off to the sights-to-see and more campgrounds—and I go off to the spaces in-between.


I must have taken over a dozen shots over a ten-minute period and could not get the lighting right on a single one. At times there were five deer out there. I guess it’s back to the manual.

It took 20 months, but I finally used the microwave. I still don’t use the oven (except for storage) but I wanted potatoes. I like them with chili flakes, frozen spinach or corn, cottage cheese, and nutritional yeast. Or sometimes with canned Mexican tomatoes and a jalapeno. Wonder how many I’ll eat before I’m done with electric sites for the winter, starting in mid January (@Oliver Lee). If I don’t get my fill, I plan to have an electric site in Bisbee for a week in March.


From overheardintheoffice.com.
Scene: A call-center operator on the phone with a doctor.
Doctor: If you don’t turn my cell phone back on today, I’ll tell the families of my patients and their lawyers that you are responsible for my patients’ deaths because I couldn’t be reached.
Operator: Sir, if you are expecting your patients to die, perhaps they should switch to a different physician.

Well, I learned something about printers for this lifestyle. I had a small, light-weight inkjet HP printer, which worked well—until I dropped it. The only problem was that inkjet cartridges dry up. I tried taking the ink cartridges out between uses, wrapping them in plastic and taping them closed. Worked for a couple more months or so but the ink still dried up. I don’t print much; probably less than 50 pages a year but I like the convenience of having a printer. I get quite a bit out of the advances being made in many areas, but occasionally, I miss an old way, or item. Case in point, they now make very few printers and stores generally don’t stock them. Most units print, scan, and copy. All I want to do is print. Guano. Then there is the drying ink problem, which equates to throwing away money. Not something I am into. I never got my money’s worth out of an ink cartridge. An inkjet printer is fine if one prints often and uses up the ink before it dries out.
So, I purchased a laserjet printer. All mine does is print (there must still be gods). All the places I’ve worked had laserjets; I’ve changed toner cartridges and knew what the cartridges contained. I never looked into getting one, however, because of the price (which has dropped quite a bit) nor did I need the quality of print. But I thought of all the inkjet cartridges I was buying over the years and throwing away after using very little of their ink.

I should have started off with a laserjet when getting into this lifestyle (one more of thousands of wrong choices and dumb mistakes). The key factor, being that a laserjet toner cartridge comes already dried out; it’s filled with powder. And one is good for thousands of pages. Even the partially filled cartridge that comes with the printer is supposed to print over 1,000 pages. Should be set for life. Can’t quite bring myself to bet on it, however. Granted the laserjet cartridges are more expensive but way less than all the inkjet cartridges I was throwing away because the ink had dried up and really, I might never have to buy one.

Last month I was I was deciding between Medicare Advantage and Medigap, prescription drug plans, and choosing a company for each. Now it’s a printer. What a come down.


I am SO out of touch. I was having trouble with my Car Talk podcasts so I went to the Car Talk website. I was kind of shocked to read that one of the brothers had not only died, but had been suffering for some time, from Alzheimer’s. Had no idea they had stopped recording in 2012 and have been playing in archival format since then. Every week I get laughs from the program and never knew what kind of questions were going to be called in, in addition to mere car problems. The brothers always seemed to be having so much fun and got along really well together.

I listened to a stellar Fresh Air podcast that was broadcast back on November 5, the day after Tom died; a tribute to the man. Most of it consisted of an interview with Ray and Tom Magliozzi recorded in 2001. Even for those who have no interest in cars, it would be worth a listen. There’s a link on the Car Talk site.

I’m enclosing some text from the Car Talk site below. There’s more on their site. I was impressed with the letter from his son; and more so with the eulogy; both definitely worth reading if you find the following text interesting. It’s all not so much about Car Talk, as about Tom Magliozzi. He was a wonderful person and I’m grateful to have found out so much about him and what he meant to so many people.

“Tom Magliozzi who, along with his brother Ray, hosted NPR’s hit comedy show Car Talk for the last 37 years, died Monday morning from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. “Turns out he wasn’t kidding,” said Ray. “He really couldn’t remember last week’s puzzler.”
“Tom Magliozzi was born June 28, 1937, in an East Cambridge, Massachusetts neighborhood filled with other Italian immigrant families. It was there that he and his younger brother Ray picked up the uniquely Boston-Italian style of expressing affection through friendly insults and teasing. That style was at the heart of their banter with each other, and their listeners, on the radio show that made them beloved guests in millions of homes every Saturday morning.
“Tom was the first in his family to attend college, enrolling at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a degree in Chemical Engineering. He applied that degree to research and consulting jobs until, in his late 20s, he was making his tedious 45-minute commute in traffic one morning, had a near miss with another car, and had a revelation that he was wasting his life. Upon arriving at work, he walked into his boss’ office and quit on the spot. He hated putting on a suit and working in the 9-to-5 world. “He actually hated working in any world,” says his brother Ray. “Later on, when we were doing Car Talk, he would come in late and leave early. We used to warn him that if he left work any earlier, he’d pass himself coming in.”
“As Tom once described his own attitude to his listeners, “Don’t be afraid of work. Make work afraid of you. I did such a fabulous job of making work afraid of me that it has avoided me my whole life so far.”
“After a period spent happily as a Harvard Square bum, a house painter, an inventor, a successful Ph.D. student, and an auto mechanic, Car Talk became his focus, and Tom spent the rest of his working life doing what he was born to do. “Making friends, philosophizing, thinking out loud, solving people’s problems, and laughing his butt off,” says Ray.
“The radio show began as a fluke. Someone from Boston’s local public radio station, WBUR, booked an on-air panel of six car mechanics from the area. Tom was the only one who showed up. “I was a panel of one,” he later said. He was impressive enough to be asked back the following week, when he brought along his fellow mechanic and kid brother, Ray, and Car Talk was born.
“Over the 10 years the brothers did the show locally, on a volunteer basis, they slowly injected more and more humor and off-topic diversions into their discussions of carburetors and wheel bearings—following their natural curiosity and pushing the limits for what was then a typically decorous public radio station. “Since we weren’t making any money, we figured we might as well have fun,” said Tom.
“The brothers’ unique combination of hilarious, self-deprecating banter and trustworthy advice was picked up by NPR in 1987, and Car Talk soon became the network’s most popular entertainment program ever, reaching audiences of more than four-million people a week. The program has continued to be a top-rated show on NPR stations in syndication, even after the guys stopped recording new shows in 2012. “Along with the solid car advice he dispensed on the radio show with his brother, Tom often took on the additional roles of philosopher king, life advisor, moral scold, and family counselor.
“He’d always ask guys who were in a dispute with their wives or girlfriends one question: ‘Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?’” said Ray. “In his own personal life, Tom always chose ‘right,’ hence he leaves behind two wives, and a passel of children and grandchildren.” He is survived by his first wife Julia Magliozzi; second wife, Joanne Magliozzi; his children, Lydia Icke, Alex, and Anna Magliozzi; his brother Ray Magliozzi; his sister Lucille Magliozzi; five grandchildren; and his close companion of recent years, Sylvia Soderberg. He was predeceased by his parents, Elizabeth and Louis Magliozzi.
“He and his brother changed public broadcasting forever,” said Doug Berman, the brothers’ longtime producer. “Before Car Talk, NPR was formal, polite, cautious….even stiff. By being entirely themselves, without pretense, Tom and Ray single-handedly changed that, and showed that real people are far more interesting than canned radio announcers. And every interesting show that has come after them owes them a debt of gratitude.
“I think the body of work he leaves will definitely be held up with great American humorists like the Marx Brothers and Mark Twain,” said Berman. “He was a genius. And he happened to use that genius to make other people feel good and laugh. I suspect, generations from now, people will be listening to Car Talk and feeling good and laughing.”


A week ago, I took a room at a La Quinta: wi-fi, iTunes internet radio, and water with control of its temperature! A hot foam bath, a glass of wine, and a paperback—can’t get much better. Well, maybe….

Remember the French singing nun from the ‘60s and Dominique? Well, there’s now an Italian singing nun, Cristina Scuccia. Check this URL for her cover of ‘What a Feeling:’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbUlT7f8CmM

Susan’s photos with Captions or Quotes
This month’s theme: sincerity


Gracious to all, to none subservient,
without offense he spoke the word he meant.
Thomas Bailey Aldrich



The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity.
Thomas Carlisle



Merry Holidays!


November sixty minutes sixty years—1840 minutes
November Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2910; core: 1840; legs: 1840

I don’t always have good days, physically, but it’s usually for only a day or two, always less than a week. It’s as if every once in a while my body realizes what it has been through and needs to take a break and recoup. For November, however, it was pretty much the whole month and December is only slightly better. This is strange; feeling tired and weak for such a long period. There is no way I could have done the 14 in either of these two months. My hikes back in Utah were slow and I was sure dragging at the end of each one, and they were generally less than two hours. Guano. My frame of mind is still up but the body is sure down. Oh well, it will get better.

Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.
philosopher Alan Watts


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

Monday, November 24, 2014

wuss, soaring, stickers, under the sun and moon,
and Susan’s photos with captions



I was wondering if I was going to be able to stay here until the end of November. These roads get slick when wet. There was a dusting of snow on November 3rd and I was thinkin’, uh-oh. The inside temp on the morning of the 4th was 38. Then the cold spell hit in the middle of the month. The first morning’s inside temp was 34. It’s too early in the cold season to deal with outside temps going down into the teens at night—so I wimped out. A few nights, I kept the Wave 6 on, set to its lowest setting (I think it is 1500 BTUs, no much but it worked quite well). I felt like such a wuss. Other than the two back-to-back nights a few years ago with minus 6 and 8 temps, I think this the only other time I’ve had heat on through the night while dry camping.
One thing I looked for when deciding on a trailer was having a window at the head of the bed. It’s cracked open even on the coldest nights.


One day it was pretty much overcast and I spent a good deal of time working at the table with all the blinds up. Oh yes, and it was windy, a key factor. I don’t see ravens soaring all that often since their wings aren’t designed for it but when it’s windy they sure seem to take advantage of it. Anyway, from time to time throughout the day a raven or two would soar past the Nash taking advantage of the updraft from the bluff. WAY COOL. You can’t tell me that they are not having a blast. Simple pleasures.


My hikes are out over bedrock, through the juniper, spruce and sage, down along the draws, and just plain out-and-about. On nearly half my hikes, I come across 3 or 4 deer. At the end of a late hike a couple weeks ago, I came out to the edge of acres of sage and saw three groups of dear all within a couple hundred yards of each other, close to twenty, a real fluke. This was the first time I saw so many deer at one time, in this area. Shouldn’t have been surprised since there is water and plenty to eat. All through hunting season, I heard maybe four shots total, and all of them a couple miles away. Sounds like I see way more deer than these ‘hunters’ on their ATVs.


Some days are too cold and windy to get the water in the solar bag warm enough. If it is sunny, laying the bag out under indoor sunlight works well enough.


I’m not sure if I uploaded a similar photo on a past page. Don’t think so. Anyway, always hang a solar bag so it is partially supported, draped over something, and only fill with as much water as will be needed. Remember, it takes less than a gallon for a shampoo and washcloth wipe-down. Otherwise the bag will have a short life. Using your tow vehicle works well. You can position the bag so you will be in the sun or out of the wind. A front door can be opened for an additional wind block.


The BioLite Campstove is a different kind of camp stove. It consists of two units. One is a can with legs, into which you place small sticks from around your campsite for fuel. The other unit attaches along the side of the first. It houses a thermoelectric generator, which powers a fan for improved combustion and a USB port for charging devices. I can’t see me getting one (& it’s about $125) but it would make an interesting conversation piece around camp.



Back on the January 2008 page—‘let others know—lettering for the outside of your rig,’ I mentioned the I Like Vinyl website. I personalized the Casita a bit with vinyl lettering and finally got around to starting on the Nash. Only these two so far; at some point, I’ll add three or four more.


Red rock > red dirt. One day there was quite a bit of wind ALL day long and most of the night. I had to keep the leeward windows partially open to keep the trailer from getting too hot. It was way to windy to keep the roof vents open. Yep, red dirt EVERYWHERE. Run your hands over the counters and tabletop and you could make nice little piles of dirt. Guano. The next day I shook out the horse blankets covering the cushions and the spreads covering the bed, beat the cushions and throw pillows, wiped down the ceiling, walls, and all surfaces, and washed the floor. This is certainly not the first time the inside of my trailer got covered in dirt, but by far, the worst. One can’t spend time down in the open desert in southern NM and AZ and not have this happen. What a mess. Maybe there is a better lifestyle.
I’m thinkin’ of moving into a closely-packed RV park. The large rigs would block a good deal of the wind and flying dirt. Should greatly decrease the amount of time house cleaning.

From clientsfromhell.net. If you are a freelance graphic designer, the only thing worse than no clients might be this client. “You think it’s right to charge us for things just because we don’t have the ability to do them ourselves?”
I would have a response to that. I would have a better response if I had already been paid.


Back to southern Utah, and as always, smoldering chips of dung, flaming cow sh*t! Other than the small paper/cardboard fires in my steel pan when off-the-grid (trash) and one in Salida, I recently had my first sit-down campfire since the spring. I do like the scent of cow-pie fires. I wonder if the smoke of dried, processed grass from free-range cows is less toxic than smoke from wood fires. Maybe Siscily will do another comparison.

I qualify for Medicare in January. I’m going with Plan A & B ($104) and probably Plan D through Humana ($15) for prescription drugs. I’m not on any meds now but I’m thinkin’ ahead (the old Boy Scout thing). And it seems if someone has had cancer, they are prone to get it again. For Medigap, I think I’ll get it through Medico ($137). I’ve been doing some research on the web, talking with people, reading over a thread on a full-timers forum, and feel this is the way to go to cover future needs and also allow me to travel about. Anyone have thoughts/suggestions? I sure would appreciate an email if you do. I don’t want to screw this up. Thanks.

I am SO far behind the geese this year. Looks like I will be rolling out of here tomorrow, heading towards Heron Lake, where I’ll probably stay until the end of the week. Then down towards Bottomless and Brantley, each for a couple weeks (Bottomless twice). I hope to be over at Oliver Lee by the middle of January for two weeks of hiking. Won’t be staying at City of Rocks as long as I have been. It just doesn’t feel as good, anymore. Then up into the Burros or back to Oliver Lee for more hiking. I’d like to spend a week in Bisbee near the end of March and then that’s it for planning. No idea where I’ll spend spring and summer. Don’t want to drive much but I’ll need elevation for the summer. Any suggestions?

I thought this first line was pretty cool; it’s from a Bruce McDonald First Nation drama, ‘Dance Me Outside.’
One character was asked, ‘Where do you live?’ He responded with:
‘I live where the land meets the sky, where the eagle and the raven fly free. I live under the sun and the moon.’
That did not go over well with the police officer. The guy’s buddy was then asked, And where do you live?
He smiled and said, ‘I’m his neighbor.’

Hello to readers of Simple Living and Simple Travel,
I am Susan. I live in Colorado, I hike, fish, ski, write, and teach. I love to take photographs and write captions for them, and Sebastian has agreed to let me post photos with captions each month on his website.


This section will be called, “Susan’s Photos with Captions”
I hope you enjoy them.
Susan


An event that happens only some years and only happens to some trees, causes excitement among the forest birds and squirrels: brown piƱon nuts develop in the cones. The cones bust open, but don’t drop all their nuts. The ones they don’t drop have to be shaken or pried from their sticky niches in the cone. You get pitch on your fingers. Mmmmm. There is nothing else like these rare warm nuts, fresh from the tree.


A juniper tree dropped this bouquet of berries onto the trail. I picked it up, then noticed that everything else looked like a bouquet, too, or a garden. It wasn’t only visual. I heard sounds of river and forest bird and raven’s flight, sensed scents of juniper, golden leaves, and warm earth. And I walked amongst it all.


Back in February, a cold day at City of Rocks, a new friend appeared from inside a gray Nash camping trailer. Here was someone who had been through a perilous journey and who had wisdom and was kind. So, though I felt irresponsible compared to him, and this affected my confidence, which was already shot, I still wanted to be around him. Later he and I hiked to the top of Mount Huron, 14,003 feet. He says he will never do it again. But who is the most glad we did—me, or him?

October sixty minutes sixty years—1860 minutes
October Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2475; core: 2115; legs: 2710

I never fell in love with exercise, but you have to do it for the rest of your life. I did it to become champ, and now I do it to stay alive. It is a death sentence without it.
George Foreman


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

Monday, October 27, 2014

back in Utah, freedom for M&M, tires, night sky,
4th camera, conversation, and artwork




I reread last month’s page and added a paragraph after the one about solo hiking. It sounded a bit off to me and needed to be clarified.
I also added something about nada guides. It’s the reference I always use when looking for the value of used RVs.
I had someone visit me here for a few days, so I also went back to last month’s page and added a paragraph on solo RVers/campers and depression. I added it after the paragraph on, ‘Not everyone is suited for full-timing.’
Maybe I should change the name of this site to, ‘Simple Mishmash.’

Podcasts got me through the two days of driving from Salida to Utah—5 Car Talks, 3 Wait, Wait…, and 4 stories from The Moth. Four slow climbs provided plenty of time for listening; two at 25-30 mph. And I have an 8 cylinder!

I stopped in Montrose on the way to Utah and RVed for three days, electric hookup but didn’t bother with water or sewer. It was like a mini vacation with having wi-fi, Pandora internet radio, and cell phone coverage. And hot showers with control of the water temperature! Hot damn. I know, the norm for most, but not for me. Spent hours on the web catching up on things and making calls to friends.

I was wondering about one road going into where I wanted to camp. The one in the photo from last fall where the Dodge and Nash were at an angle above a washed out section of road. Glen checked it out for me and told me it had been worked on. They did a stellar job. This is the first fall that I went back to a spot I had been to before. I like it because of the hiking and it’s the closest of my camping spots to Moab; under a half hour to rt 191 and into Moab just under an hour. The others are farther in off the asphalt. I might go back to one at some point, however. It’s more crowded here than I’ve ever seen it. There was a car camper ¾ mi off to the east for two days and a van camper ¾ mi off to the northwest for a night. Might as well be in a campground. But after they pulled out, there’s been no one (well, except for the above acquaintance I invited to visit for a few days). My kind of camping spot.

It’s also a treat to have cell phone coverage here and I can pick up Utah public radio, PRI (carries the American Routes program, yes!), Moab’s community station, and NOAA weather on my radios. Not the norm for my realm, hence my use of SiriusXM’s ‘Mostly Music’ package for $10/month. One of my best investments.

I was hoping Janet and Mauricio would get a chance to come down here camping but they are SO busy, maybe next year. We did get to talk on the phone, though. It’s not generally easy for me to call friends since I frequently do not have cell phone coverage. And for some, when I’m doin’ a town-run and can call, they are at work. Guano. Anyway, I lost track of the number of times I said, “I didn’t know that,” during our conversation. Thoroughly enjoyed catching up with her.
And being outside of Moab is a treat, since whenever I go into town, I can have breakfast or lunch with a friend. Simple pleasures.

M&M had been inside the Nash for two weeks between the time in Salida and Montrose. They had their window cage but that doesn’t quite cut it in their minds. When we got to the spot where we were going to camp, I opened the door and asked if they wanted to go out. They were out before I finished asking. We had been driving along dirt roads for a few miles. That motion pretty much tells them that they’re getting close to a new place to camp and will be let out soon.


Probably my favorite spot to sit in the Nash (as it was in the Casita). I use the back of my Remington Low Rider (SLC, UT); I can lean back, stretch my legs out, and look out three windows. Not bad for living in a 19’ box.
I remember a night during the summer. I generally keep the blinds up in the evening until it’s fully dark outside (then I lower and close them; with lights on, it greatly brightens up the inside). So I was sitting inside, facing the back window, out of which I had a beautiful view. I was reading on the Kindle so there were no lights on. The clouds reminded me of an old rag rug. They were in thin rows with intermittent spaces between the rows and in the rows themselves. The full moon started coming up and reflected light off the rag-rug-type clouds—absolutely beautiful. Made for a very bright sky. You can probably guess I put the Kindle down to just watch. Vivaldi was playing on the iPod nano (w/iHome speaker). Again, something simple that makes this lifestyle so special. la vida buena


I placed my yearly winter order of online items to get me through the year. Lisa let me have all the stuff shipped to her in Moab. Thank the gods for friends. I’m doing well with most things in this lifestyle but not with cameras. I started off with a Sony Cybershot. It didn’t last all that long before it died. I then went to a Nikon Coolpix which I liked. It too soon died. A photo shop owner told me most such cameras die due to dust. I kept my second Nikon Coolpix in two plastic folding sandwich bags, even while in my pocket, and it lasted longer. It’s slowly dying however, so I ordered a Canon PowerShot, which has a good rating. Hope it lasts longer than my first three. It doesn’t take a 12V charge through an USB port, however, as the Nikon does. For this lifestyle, it’s best to have all electronic items able to charge by 12V.


I had anticipated something more spectacular for the first photo with the Canon. Oh well. I decided to get new boots for the Dodge. I pull the Nash through sand, mud, and over other loose surfaces and rocks. I wanted a more aggressive tread than my Michelins had, not a whole lot but definitely more. The Michelin were real good tires but the LT tread was geared for the asphalt. Doesn’t quite fit in my realm. I’m REAL happy with the BF Goodrich Rugged Trail LT tires. Yet another $1,000 plus town run day. Bummer.


If you’re one of my friends or have been reading these pages for a while, you know that I am not the kind of person who would display antlers on a wall. Might as well sell the Nash, get a toy hauler, an ATV, start to buy canned squirrel piss by the case, and get sloshed in the evenings. Not bloody likely.
I can display a work of art, however. I came across these on a hike down in a draw two weeks ago. I’m going to try to find an artist who will paint them. If one then looked at the finished piece, and there was no way that you could not but focus initially on the painting, the antlers will be worth keeping. Otherwise I’ll just take them out and give them back to the land. So I’m going to seal them (Minwax wipe-on poly), keep them for a while, and look for a painter. Susan could have done a stellar job with them but that’s not an option. I’m somewhat apprehensive to ask Siscily if she would paint them. I fear that when I went to pick them up—they’d be covered with flowers. We’ll see what comes about.


I remember seeing some episodes of the old Roseanne show and getting some laughs. Roseanne Barr has slimmed down and has a macadamia nut farm in Hawaii. She was quoted as saying, “I’m just doing the stuff you hate hearing—eating less and moving more.” My kind of lady.


Before all the rain started this summer, I dug out the ladder and checked out every inch of calking on the Nash. I dug out and recalked a few feet of it. One place had an 8” gap. Not good. No leaks. This is good. I HATE water leaks in RVs.


There’s a negative aspect in the first few months of hard-wall camping. Might not apply as much for those getting into RVing since there are generally people around. Wish I could say it didn’t happen to me. Some of us lose the ability to carry on a conversation. And we don’t get it back until we realize we lost it. (are you confused yet?) Being off by oneself, with no one around to talk with, seems to backlog all the talking we normally would be doing. Then when we finally meet up with someone to talk with, we blow it; all our words come out and we just stand there talking at the person. When I first started doing the winter parks, I met a few people who also spend a good deal of the year off without many people around and I noticed this trait in them. They were just talking at me and I finally realized (I never professed to be quick on the uptake) that I was doing the same thing. Since then I really try to be aware of this and be sure I comment on what the other person says, ask questions, and have a back and forth. I must have been awful to be around when I was just talking at people. Besides, I’m still into learning so questions need to be part of my conversations.
I was out hiking shortly after I got here and came across a guy living in an old Cherokee. His car was along a spur I was walking on towards the end of my hike. The doors were open but I didn’t see anyone so I called out while still 25 yards away (I hate someone walking into my camp without giving me a heads-up). He came out, I said hello, and then he just talked at me for the next 20 minutes. I finally started to slowly walk away and he just kept talking at me. Pros and cons with living by oneself.

He also came across as a bit strange, and he didn’t have a pet. Not always, but way more than not, the strangest solo people I come across do not live with a pet. There’s something to be gained by living with another animal, be it human or otherwise.
Wow, another ramble. Gee, maybe that’s one of the cons of living alone. But at least I have two pets so I can’t be all that strange.
Although, I’m probably still a bit too much to be around after I’ve downed a quart of Mtn Dew.

I’ve come across a number of full-timers with some screws lose. They tend to be solo travelers, not have a pet, and exist in a small rig, either in the back of a pickup, in a van, a small, old truck camper or Class C, or some type of home built rig—and tend to be slugs. Granted, not always but way more often than not. And maybe it’s just the loonies I’ve come across so far. I’m now at the point where if I’m walking past such a rig, I keep going. I don’t stop and try for a conversation.


Reminds me of a joke.
Two ranchers were talking.
One asked, “Can a man do something foolish and not know about it?”
“Not if he has a wife,” his buddy replied.


My running total to Heifer International is now 4 goats, 2 flocks of chicks, and 1 flock of geese. They apparently dropped chicks for some reason. Next goat coming on the solstice.


As I mentioned last year, one drawback of hiking in this area is you start off hiking down into the canyons and draws. After one starts to get tired and wants to loop back, it’s all uphill. Guano. At some point, you look for a side canyon that you can hike/scramble up. You definitely will be using your hands to help climb from time to time. And you will be viewing three or more false tops. This shot is a little ways up from where I started to climb out of a draw. What you see at the top of the photo is nowhere near as high or far as I still had to climb.


You hike up a ways and you see this—then you have to climb above it.


You get up there, hike along a bit farther, and you see this. And you’re right; you have to hike up.


You hike along a bit more after you got up the last climb, and you are presented with this view. Getting close. Once you hike up this rock, you only have about another 100’ of elevation to gain and a half mile or so hike back to camp.
It’s beautiful and definitely worth it—it just seems half-ass backwards.

October Olio—water source

This is something different to try if you will be off-the-grid in one spot for awhile and want to add to your outdoor skills. It’s a way to make a source of clear running water from a trickle.

If there is even a mere trickle of water near where you are camping, you might be able to turn it into a water source. Trace it up the slope until you find where it comes out of the ground. Dig a hole a couple feet above where it starts and see if there is saturated soil down a foot or so. If so, this will probably work. Widen the hole forming a ditch across the slope, piling the dirt on the downhill side to form a dam. Continue to dig the ditch left and right as far as there is seepage. If the soil is not clay, try to find some and line the ditch with it. Perforate a half-gallon bleach or milk jug and jury-rig it to the end of a short hose. Cover the jug with synthetic loose-weave cloth, to admit water but keep out anything that might clog the hose. Place the jug in the deepest part of the pool, cut a notch in the dam, route the hose downhill, and repair the dam. Find as many pebbles and small rocks as possible and try to fill the pool. I know, I know, a bit of work but remember, this is only if you will be there for a few weeks and you want to try something new. Cover the pebbles/pool with plastic (a couple lawn/leaf bags work) to keep out dirt and rainwater. Cover the plastic with soil and debris so it blends in. In a few days, clear water should be flowing out of the hose. If not, you have bad karma and you need to work on it. (^_^) If there is a creek near by, forget all this and just dig a hole in the creek bed and build a rock dam below it so you have a spot deep enough to fill up a bucket.
This is an example of something hard-wall campers would be up for trying. Another way to have Nature provide something for us. Different strokes.
Then, as always, naturalize this project along with your site before heading out.

This is late, but for future hunting seasons stop and think about where to set up camp. If possible, scout out a spur road that you can get your rig up and goes into a dense conifer forest. Such places offer little in the way of browsing food for deer and elk so there shouldn’t be shooters around. But then you lose sunlight for your solar panels, so forget it.

September sixty minutes sixty years—2120 minutes
September Triple 18—pecs/delts: 1855; core: 2125; legs: 3280

If you don’t find your center,
you end up sorta drifting through life sideways.
Jimmy Buffett


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

Saturday, September 27, 2014

14,000’, how long can a short move take!
parallel universe, woodpecker II, hiking,
potential full-timers, and a bud room



The top of Huron Peak @ 14,003’ with Susan and Joey. The 10 mile hike was tough; wish we could have gotten the car closer but the access road was a bit too much for it. Other than for one of the summers when I was housesitting in Chama, I’m probably in the best condition since my transplant (not saying I have a whole lot of muscle tone, however). I’ve been doing numerous variations of squats and lunges this year and been hiking, running, and biking. All pretty much worthless to me above 12,000’. If it wasn’t for Susan pulling me along, there is no way I would have kept goin’. I’m sure glad I did it but I ain’t doin’ another 14 (well, maybe if I develop dementia and forget what it’s like). It became just a trudge for me and that’s not why I hike or really do any of the active things I enjoy doing. Sure felt like a wuss. Didn’t feel all that bad the next day, which was an exceedingly pleasant surprise. By far the most difficult physical thing I’ve done since my medical problems.


Susan pointed out a soaring raven when we got up there. 14,000 feet and nothing to eat—why was she there? Stoked on the thrill of being able to do what she was doing? Curious about the two slow, weak animals who looked like they might become her next meal? I would have loved to switch places with her.

Back to my last weeks off-the-gird: I watched a squirrel chasing a chipmunk. I wonder if squirrels chase smaller rodents if they come onto their turf or did this chipmunk just do something to annoy the squirrel. I would guess the latter. I wonder what kind of things I would think about if I didn’t spend so much time off-the-grid with two felines.

Other mornings I’ve spent time observing squirrels at the top of spruce trees harvesting cones. Geez those guys are hyper. And they are so strong, quick and agile. They’re holding on with their hind feet as they use their front paws and teeth to quickly rip a cone off and then chuck it out from the tree a bit so it won’t tend to get caught in the branches. They can easily have two cones in the air at once. I started chuckling one morning while watching a squirrel. At one point, instead of chucking the cone, he stopped, sat there, and started eating it.


I moved my camping spot to another that was 1.4 mi. away—it took 3 hours and 20 minutes! Good grief. To break camp, pack up, back the truck, hook up the weight distribution hitch, and rearrange the interior of the Nash for a rough road, took an hour and fifty minutes! Good grief. Granted, I wasn’t totally focused on what I was doing and had to redo some things, but still. I’ve done this so much that it should be automatic. To drive the slow, rough 1.4 mi, back into the new spot, level, unhitch and finish leveling, get the propane and fridge back on, set up the campsite, and move the interior stuff back where it all goes for living, took one hour and 30 minutes (1:00 to 4:20). Good grief. This was good in that it reminded me that I really need to pay attention when breaking and setting up camp. I mean, I know this. I’m sure if it was a moving day when I was going to head out on the asphalt, I wouldn’t have been such a space cadet.

With these 3-week-stints, days go quickly but weeks go slow, especially after a few back-to-back stints. It’s pretty cool; it seems as if I’m out there a long time before having to make a town-run. A logical explanation for this would be, at some point, probably while sleeping, I slip into a parallel universe where time slows. As it gets close to the end of my 3 weeks in this universe, I seamlessly slip back. Or maybe my enjoyment of this aspect of the lifestyle does something to my sense of time. Either way it’s good.



Well, this woodpecker was into chips (as opposed to the one I came across earlier). And it was easy to see the hole; it was only 7’ off the ground. The birds were long gone by the time I came across these two trees.


I looked back through these pages and it looks like I started with my present solar bag last October while down in southern Utah. Prior to using it, I reinforced the places where the bag, at some point, would leak. I generally keep the bag on the ground under the Nash between shower days. As you can see, it was a dumb idea. After using a bicycle tube patch on the rodent hole, I now keep it in the back of the Dodge. I haven’t had to use a tube patch since Onyx kneaded one of my bags with his claws.

I lucked out this summer with the area I ended up in. Very few people seem to use the location; I didn’t hear or see anyone on the 4th of July weekend and only one truck went by my camping spot on Labor Day weekend. This includes all the hours I was off hiking, no tracks. That is way strange. I only set up camp in two of the places I came across that would work well for me. The drawback for me was that the others are even further in from the asphalt. The 8-9 hour town-runs (a half hour of driving just to get to the asphalt then another hour to town) were more than long enough without adding more driving time. There are two more areas in these mountains that would probably offer just as good camping, but driving out and back in would add at least another hour to the town-run days. Not gonna happen. I’d like to find more areas like this in AZ, UT, and NV.

The warmest inside morning temp this summer was 56° (9,600’). I probably keep my rig more open at night than most campers.

I swear I’ve seen more rain this summer than in all of the last few years. It’s not really been all that bad, however. It generally does not rain in the morning so there’s plenty of time to go off hiking or whatever. I love the power and beauty of thunderstorms, but not especially when I’m camping in the mountains with only one road out to the asphalt. It has been quite unsettling on occasion.

Back off-the-grid at times, I settle down outside, a bit before dusk, on a lowrider with my back to the west, and watch the darkness rise in the east to blanket the land. Pretty cool. A glass of wine and some R. Carlos Nakai goes well with it all. I like how one can see better the longer we are out in the dark, after giving the rods in our eyes time to recover from the light of day. No campfire, moon, or other light source. If you are sitting there talking with a friend, time will move right along and you’ll swear you have some owl blood in you. Quite impressive.

I’ve camped in places where the night sky was almost overpowering; no glow from any direction and the stars showing right down to the horizon all around, as if you where under a dome; the stars almost overly bright and the Milky Way SO thick and pronounced. Absolutely stellar. But the last spot I camped might have topped all others. All of the above and the tall trees to the west were spaced out a bit. You could look through the trees and see stars. I’ve seen stars through trees before, but this was more extensive and the stars were as bright as they get (or rather, appear). Just a little thing, but it made the night sky even more spectacular. Way cool.

I think I know why I enjoy hiking so much. It’s the isolation of hiking. I do enjoy hiking with someone from time to time (and thank the gods Susan was with me on the 14) but I generally prefer goin’ solo. Well, I guess that’s good since I don’t generally have a choice. But be that as it may, I prefer solo. Maybe isolation is more of an aspect of hiking for me than for most. Most probably hike on trails where you come across other hikers. I hiked short sections of forest roads this summer to get me to various spots from where I wanted to head off into the trees. I guess walking along overgrown logging roads, gated spur roads, game trails, cow paths, along a stream, across or along meadows, following a contour line, or just taking a line towards an area I’ve not been to yet, all contributes to the isolation of hiking. I didn’t used to look at it this way, probably because I used to pretty much always hike trails.
I might prefer solo hiking, but I’ve also enjoyed some hikes I’ve done with others. The 14 was different, however. I didn’t so much enjoy the hike, but I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the other hiker.

Susan must wonder how I find my way while out hiking by myself since she’s seen me get turned around at trail junctions when coming back down a trail. On trails, I find myself daydreaming from time to time and not really being tuned in. That’s not an option when off doing the type of hiking I generally do, nor do I listen to music or podcasts. One needs to keep aware of where you’re going. I mark my campsite as a POI on my GPS, turn it off and pack it in my pack, just in case I really screw up, but I like the challenge of finding my way back. I like loops; out-and-backs don’t do much for me. One needs to be aware of where the sun is in direction to your line of travel (and its changing position over the hours), over a shoulder, to the side or in front of you; constantly take in the lay of the land so you can tie the land together, drainages, ridges, hills, meadows, streams, contour lines; hillsides with different types of trees; burned areas; keep a rough idea of time moving in a general direction, and the like. Going off in different directions over the weeks maps out the whole area in your head. My kind of traveling.



Mesa still likes to restrict my solar power.

I come across or hear of people who just do not seem to do much research before getting into full-timing. If a potential full-timer talks with a full-timer, and depending on where they are set up, in an RV park or a state or national park or in a national forest campground, he/she will probably get different perspectives on the RV lifestyle. It might be good to get an idea of the type of RVing one will most likely be doing and talk with people doing that specific type. Some prefer RV parks and resorts, some national parks, some BLM, some want to visit many small towns (for which a class B might be best); there are SO many variables—don’t get blinded by only one perspective.

Some pass up speaking with full-timers and start at a RV dealership. Bad move. Instead of learning all they can from full-timers and on the web to narrow down the type of RV to get, they go to a dealership and put the ball in the salesman’s court. Can you say, ‘dumb?’ A good number get snowed and order all kinds of ‘useful’ options and end up with a larger rig than they need. Some can afford this and it’s no big thing; if they find it’s not for them, they’ll just sell it and take the lose (sometimes tens of thousands). I still believe in starting off with a good used rig maybe 5 years old for the reasons I stated on the ‘Choosing a Rig’ page.
http://www.nadaguides.com/RVs is a stellar reference for finding the value of used rigs.

I’d place some of those sales people right down there with the lowlifes that con retirees out of their savings; it’s pretty similar. Thankfully this is not the norm, but I hate hearing about it. I guess being a senior on a fixed income and living on wheels brings this closer to home. But we all make poor choices from time-to-time. Been there, done that, still occasionally doin’ it. Guano.

And that’s just the rig. As you know, fulltiming is not necessarily a cheaper way to live. Many potential fulltimers talk with fulltimers and don’t ask about expenses of the different RV lifestyles. If one is spending $25-35 a night for a place to set up, I don’t consider that cheap living.

Some full-timers work a good deal of the year. Some visit places like Quartzsite (good grief) and line up employment at the various booths geared for seasonal jobs. Others look into Workamper News and Workamper job fairs, campground management companies, or find work in National Parks, amusement parks, etc.. Some volunteer at campsites, generally with no pay but usually come with a free hookup site, which saves an RVer money. You’ll frequently see RVers working a Christmas tree or pumpkin lot. There are a lot of opportunities for seasonal work if one needs to work or just enjoys helping and being around people.
There are different RV lifestyles and expenses vary quite a bit. For some, a combination works best. I met an older guy back in ’07 who dry camps 5 days a week and stays in an RV park 2 days a week so he can socialize, do laundry, fill up his water tank, dump his gray & black, fully charge his batteries, and whatever else needs to be done.

Not everyone is suited for full-timing. Some get into full-timing but don’t find the particular style that best suits them, so don’t succeed at it. The lifestyle in general, can sound fabulous, but once they get into it, they’re thinking, this is not what I had imagined. So buy used, start with a simple rig, and go a bit smaller than you think you might need. Talk with full-timers in such rigs.

Also, if you are going into this solo, be sure you are comfortable with solitude. It might not be an issue if you will be staying in campgrounds. I know guys who disperse camp during the summer months, and I come across them in the winter parks. Two of them, for sure, sink deeper into depression each year. One recently visited and camped nearby for a few days. One of the first things he said to me was, Hey, if I smell, let me know. I’m not going to tell you how he presently handles hygiene, but you can probably imagine it’s pretty bad. This along with other aspects of his existence all point to an escalating problem. He was nothing like this when I met him 4 years ago.
From listening to him talk over the years, he doesn’t seem to have any friends, acquaintances or family who care about him, so after a couple days I tried to talk with him about depression. It did not go well; typical macho guy thing of denial. Not even knowing what depression is, let alone symptoms of it, he gets all huffy and puffy about not having it. Since I went through a bout of depression after my transplant when I realized my life as I was living it was over. The active things that I had enjoyed most were gone. So I had first-hand experience of what I was talking about—loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities and hobbies, excessive sleeping, fatigue, low self-esteem, feeling of hopelessness, and others. Yep, been there, done that, didn’t like it, did something about it. It was the pits.
It seems I got through on the third day after picking at it from time to time and talking about symptoms I had and how I finally got on a track to improving my mental and physical health. It seemed to finally click with him that he had the same symptoms (well, I sort of primarily only mentioned the ones I had that mirrored his). I mean, he started talking about suicide so I felt I should at least try to be helpful. And yes, when it is important, I can actually be tactful.
Sure was uncomfortable. But like I’ve said, I really shouldn’t still be above the ground, so I must be here for something. I would imagine it is for stuff like this.

Maybe a ‘quirkyalone’ would be best suited to a lifestyle of solo full-time hard-wall camping. Sasha Cagen defines quirkyalone as ‘a person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than in a couple.’

To get back on track, full-timing can be a good lifestyle, with tolerable expenses once one learns the ropes. I just don’t like to see people being taken advantage of or going into something that costs a good deal of money, with little knowledge. Like that’s ever going to change.


I never really got into to smoking dope; it just made me hungry and tired. I did like Alice B. Toklas brownies, however. But, I’m in Colorado. SO, I stopped in a licensed MMC (medical marijuana center). I heard about a tootsie-roll that sounded good. One walks into a MMC and first thing, has to show ID. Then one can look around at the various items for sale until it is your turn to make a purchase. There is a waiting area like a doctor’s office with chairs and a table with magazines and local papers. Off to the side is a ‘bud room’—the key location in the establishment. Only one customer/couple can be in the bud room at a time, hence the waiting area. Once in the room, there is quite a selection of cannabis in various forms, such as the above, coffee crunch dark chocolate with real coffee beans and one other additional ingredient.

You probably picked up on I went to Salida to visit Susan. It felt good to see her again. We went out for a few meals, walks, a couple hikes, and had some good talks. We don’t agree on everything nor look at many things the same way but we’re both comfortable with that. Unlikely that we’ll have the opportunity to spend time together again but the gods might throw us a treat. I plan to keep in touch, though. Sure do like the lady. la mia preziosa amica

This winter’s expenses might cost a tad more; I plan to occasionally get a room at a La Quinta. I am SO behind with the list of stuff I need to take care of on the web. With my town runs taking so long this summer, I didn’t spend much time on the web. Oh well, I’ll also get to soak in hot foam baths with a glass of wine and a paperback. Some aspects of this lifestyle are almost too tough to cope with.

September Olio—a small cover-your-butt sack for hiking

It’s smart to always keep a small sack in your daypack when going off on a hike, especially if you will be off trail and there are not many people around. There are all kinds of thoughts on what to put into a ‘survival kit’ so keep in mind that this is my take on it and that I do not profess to be an expert. I feel comfortable with these items. Most are stuffed in a small sack in my daypack while others are distributed through the pack or in my pockets. Some items change with the weather, length of hike, the season, and other variables.

plenty of water, food, energy bars, small binoculars or monocular, a strong folding knife, a Leatherman or other multi-tool, signal mirror, whistle, compass (a GPS does not replace a compass) and local map, GPS, PLB, cell phone (might get a signal if high enough), first aid kit, aspirin or IBU or your preference, petroleum jelly or something similar for hot spots that might develop on feet, nail clippers, needles & thread (for cloth & wounds), safety pins, poncho, gortex parka, tuque, neck gaiter, gloves, space or rescue blanket, water purification tablets or filter, fire capability (waterproof matches, Bic lighter, and birthday candles or ‘fire-starter’), small handgun, pepper spray, sunscreen, insect repellant, small pencil & paper, headlamp w/extra batteries, candle, wire saw, large heavy-duty trash bag (for rainwear & to collect water), 100’ of paracord, coil of thin wire, heavy aluminum foil (can be formed into a pot for boiling water [a discarded soda can can also be used to boil water, after rising out any critters] & for wrapping food to cook in the embers).

August sixty minutes sixty years—2505 minutes
August Triple 18—pecs/delts: 3740; core: 3045; legs: 4600

I saw this joke:
‘I didn’t make it to the gym today.’
‘That makes 5 years in a row.’

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.
Lao Tzu


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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

more on the July page, at the water’s edge,
hard-wall camping,
floor vents and housework exercise,
salads, sawdust, and close encounters


I know, I know, this page is late, once again. I had to pre-date it before I uploaded it so it showed up in August. I only got into town once in August and I did not have the page finished at that time.


On my last town-run, I added four paragraphs to the July page: town-run days, a safety thing, and what I do with the campsite before leaving on a town trip to make it look like I’m not alone, am in the area, will be back soon, and have friends coming. Do a FIND for ‘Consider doing’ and it should take you to the first paragraph.

I sure do like living in the Nash 17K—it’s like a ‘mama bear rig,’ just right (I’m tweaking the fairy tale). My Jayco and Holiday Rambler were ‘papa bear rigs,’ both had too much space. The Casita was a ‘baby bear rig,’ too little for fulltiming.

Nor have I come across a floor plan that better fits my lifestyle. There’s enough room to exercise inside when I want to and the back three windows are priceless when out off-the-grid. A common setup in 5th wheels but not so much in trailers.

I still would have preferred aluminum siding (and framing), however. Like I’ve stated, it’s easier to repair sidewall damage and I think aluminum would hold up better to the spur-road-scraping. But mostly, because I wanted to paint it; either something like a forest service green to blend in or a funky pastel shade like on the buildings one sees down in the islands. And have shutters painted next to the windows.

I could see stepping out the door in the morning, glancing to the side, taking in the pastel shade of the sidewalls; looking down at the 6x8’ blue ground tarp; and thinking I’m down in the islands camping at the water’s edge. Or not. Such a vision would probably necessitate being one toke over the line. But that sure would make one funky lookin’ rig! Way cool. If I ever purchase a few acres, I’d probably get an old trailer to leave there; it’ll be aluminum and it’s goin’ pastel!

It would be foolish to think of painting a standard fiberglass/plywood sided trailer like the Nash, unless it was real old and the gelcoat was shot.

You probably notice that I do not point out FR #’s for my choice spots, nor in some cases, even the part of the state I’m in. My summers are for quiet and solitude. I had an email a year or two ago from someone who recognized a specific area. I thanked him for sending me an email rather than post the location on the page’s ‘comments.’ Hopefully others are just as mindful. I really appreciate it.

I went to fill up my water containers at the same spot I’ve been using. I recognized a woman working there and said, ‘You’re the lady I squirted with a hose.’ She laughed and told me her husband also got a good chuckle when she shared the story with him. I love giving people a laugh.


If I’m remembering right, I first came across the term ‘hard-wall camping’ in a Backpacker magazine article. After a couple of campers started a family, they purchased a small RV so they could get the little ones into the outdoors. They used as many ‘camping’ aspects as they could on their trips, as opposed to the easier/more comfortable ‘RVing‘ aspects. They were trying to teach their children to appreciate and have fun in the outdoors. Didn’t sound like they spent much time near their rig let alone in it.

A hard-wall camper needs an RV—hence, hard-wall. But from that point on, it’s different—it’s geared toward camping rather than RVing—a different mindset, a different lifestyle, and a way different level of physical activity. I’d guess that a good deal of hard-wallers used to be backpackers; have experience living out in Nature with not all that much gear and getting around without a motorized vehicle. Pretty much use to taking some inconvenience and discomfort in stride, from time to time (remember tent camping and hiking in the rain and mud?). Just accepting it as a part of it all. No big thing.

I am not talking about what RVers refer to as ‘disperse camping’, along forest roads, let alone ‘boondocking.’ That’s just RVing without hookups, disperse RVing—neither camping or boondocking. Roads out in the boonies (boondocks) are not maintained; they can be quite eroded and rocky. Not the kind of roads RVers want to take their rigs down.

Going by what I’ve picked up on over the years, talking with people (email & face to face), and keeping in mind the three differences, I can probably state some camping/outdoor tendencies of hard-wall campers. Remember, this is my take on it. And it might be a tad biased because I love it.

Interstates are not popular with HW campers. They prefer the back roads with hills, curves, and slower speeds. They won’t be all that concerned with miles per gallon and the price of gas—they’re not racking up thousands of miles each year on the asphalt.
They are into simple travel, using their body rather than an engine to see what’s out there.

You’ll come across HW campers (or not) disperse camping miles in off the asphalt, down narrow spur roads, rather than in campgrounds—out in the spaces in-between. The rig will be small enough for the lifestyle; pretty basic without a lot of options, and pulled by a 4WD vehicle (or a single-unit rig w/4WD), possibly wearing tires with a somewhat aggressive tread. Since they like to camp in stealth-mode, they won’t have outdoor speakers, light strips or other outdoor lighting (good grief). Hard-wallers tend to be more in touch with the outdoors than in their rig and all it holds. Chances are they have field guides: plants, trees, animal tracks, and/or birds and maybe a star guide.

It’s a good bet that they would have an REI membership rather than a Camping World membership (should really be called ‘RV World’); a kindle account rather than a satellite TV account; more paperbacks than DVDs.
The portable outside table has a camp stove on it rather than a barbecue and most meals are prepared out there.
Campfires are small and contained in a fire pan; not members of the big-ring-of-rocks cult.
Use common sense and natural means for heating and cooling the rig whenever possible.
Will be aware of the sun’s path and its affect on tree shadows throughout the day and position their rig accordingly.
Won’t be using a particular camping spot in both cold and hot months.
Know something about their carbon footprint; lean towards solar panels, catalytic heaters, water conservation and the like.
Less likely to have a TV and dish than disperse RVers.
Hard-wall campers tend to be in decent shape since they are into, at least, hiking. For myself, keeping in decent shape makes all the miles I rack up while out-and-about much easier. I don’t want to be huffing and puffing whenever I go out for a couple hours doing things I enjoy. Been there, done that, didn’t like it, did something about it.
I wonder if a good deal of them use a Mac.

I hard-wall camp for a good part of the year since I get the most out of this aspect of the lifestyle. I still RV in the winter for the social aspect of it; not boilerplate RVing, but still RVing (setting up in a state park is not camping). A year with 8 months hard-wall camping and 4 of RVing might be a good balance. I get an electric hookup for 2 of the 4 months RVing but don’t hook up to water or sewer.


Floor vents let a lot of dirt settle in the ductwork. (Yep, this is a typical mishmash page.) I had louvered vent covers in my 5th wheel and they are good for restricting and directing airflow but don’t do much for keeping dirt out of the floor ducts. In the Nash, I removed the vent screws and stored them away. They are not needed; the covers stay flat and remain in place. It makes it easy to frequently clean down in the duct during the cold months. When the days start to get warm, I apply painter’s tape over the vents. The ducts stay clean and a little color is added to the floor. Also, if there happens to be some cold mornings after the taping and after I’ve stored away the Wave, one or two covers can be lifted off so I can run the furnace and heat the part of the trailer I’m using.

So much for packing away the Wave 6. I dug it out, along with the feet and hose, and set it back up on July 30. JULY! Good grief. Don’t know if I’ve had a summer like this. Last week’s outside morning temps were back down in the upper 30s and one at 32°. I also moved back to a spot with early morning sun. The first morning, the cows came by for a visit. M&M went right out to say hi (or whatever).

One’s body, just like a car and most other things with moving parts, needs to be maintained or it starts breaking down. Most people do not do this and you can easily see how they start stiffening up and slowing down—their choice. I do a number of day-to-day things and, all together, they help to keep my weight down. When I got the Nash, I didn’t go out and buy a mop and an indoor broom. Most people sure don’t squat and bend down anywhere near enough as they get older. The sponge and hand broom take care of both the floor and the body—two birds with one stone.

Sure wish I could access NOAA weather here. I do miss a heads-up.

I saw my first young coyote. She/he was only a few months old. Cute. Meadow was staring out the window at something and I couldn’t see what it was until the animal moved. Pretty cool.


I’ve been coming across more elk the last few weeks. This guy was in the backyard when I came back from a hike one morning. When he saw me, he began to leisurely walk into the trees to the south. I then learned an elk call that apparently means, ‘Hey, get your butt over here.’ A smaller elk came out of the brush below the spring and trotted across the meadow to join up with the first elk.


Where’s Waldo? No, wait, I mean—Where’s Nash? I hiked up another 900’ to 10,500 and got this view of my campsite.


My table is standing in there somewhere. This day I counted 60 or so cows in our yard and they stayed for most of the day, which was strange, they generally just graze on through. They were lying down in the shade by the Dodge, browsing over in the spring drainage, spread out in the meadow, and over on the side of the hill. Pretty cool; I almost felt like a homesteader. Whenever Mesa or Meadow was out, the calves would be watching them. The herd started wandering off mid-afternoon. I come across small groups of cows when I’m off hiking or whatever, but never this many; a strange day.


While out walking with Meadow and Mesa one evening back in July, I noticed this pile of fresh sawdust at the base of a tree. I had been hearing woodpeckers quite a bit. Looking up, I could not see anything. After the walk, I went back with a pair of binoculars but still could not see anything; hard to see through the branches and needles. I guess there could be a woodpecker hole up there or maybe it’s just the woodpeckers’ main insect tree. That’s a lot of sawdust!


I’ve eaten more salads since I got back to a decent size refrigerator than I’ve eaten in years. To me a salad is a meal. I’ve been given salads that are pretty much a bowl of leaves with alfalfa sprouts on top. I’ve never gone out with the cows and grazed, but I might have an idea of what they’re tasting. Bland salads like that are why we have salad dressing; the flavor must come from somewhere. I like the taste to come from the food, so a good deal of the time I don’t cover it with dressings, spreads or sauces. If a salad consists of a variety of tastes and textures, it does not need a dressing or at the most, a little balsamic vinegar and/or pepper and salt. A salad of a few leaves two types of lettuce (romaine, red, leaf, etc), a roma tomato, baby bella mushrooms, a quarter of a red pepper, and some onion is pretty tasty in and of itself, without the need for dressing. Stores should keep dressings next to the alfalfa sprouts.
Then you go to upper end restaurants, and you are presented with a miniscule salad and the pieces arranged as if it is a work of art. Good grief. If I want art, I go to a gallery. I’m in a restaurant—if I see art, I expect it to be hanging on the walls.

I want food to be tasty, nutritious, and just enough of it to feel satisfied. If there is art to it—it’s in the preparation, not in the presentation. Wow, I realize I was into a ramble, but I think I ended up with a rant. Oh well, I guess I’ll put together a salad.

Did you hear Click & Clack’s comment on the Pope’s latest ride? “The Pope buys a 1984 Renault… Now, there’s a man who believes in the power of prayer.”

I was going to stay in this area until the end of September and then head to southern Utah for October and most of November. Now I think I’ll head over to Salida, CO for a week or so around the middle of September. Then start west and hopefully find a place to camp or RV around Montrose for a couple days. Then south and over to rt90. We’ll see.

Headline from the Onion: Scientists Trace Heat Wave to Massive Star at Center of Solar System

August Olio—close encounter with a puma—you’re dead meat

As you probably know, the animal people no longer say to play dead when up against a bear or other predator. A predator wants an easy kill. If you put up a loud, forceful fight, the animal might back off and seek an easier meal. This would be good.

One is suppose to remain calm (no data for attaining this frame of mind at a time like this, is provided however).
If you inadvertently hemmed the animal in, ease on back to give the animal an out.
In the open, stand your ground. Turning and running might trigger a chase response. Predators are primed to chase fleeing prey. The animal might have had no intension of attacking you. So don’t push his button.
Don’t bend down. It will make you look smaller and more vulnerable. If a child is with you, pick her up without bending down or move her behind you.
If the animal starts to make a noise, it could mean that it is warning you away. There might be a little one nearby, the animal could be feeling sick and irritable, or he’s guarding his territory. Take the hint.
Keep eye contact and slowly back away.
If the animal comes closer or acts aggressively, make yourself appear larger and tougher; wave your arms, make noise, shout, clap your hands, throw things.

If a worse case scenario arises and the animal attacks—fight to live, with everything you got! Grab a rock, stick, tool, camping gear, aluminum Asp, clip, neck or belt knife, capsaicin spray, whatever (a handgun with defense loads would be good). I was reading sections of a survival manual once and it stated for an alligator or shark attack, go for the eyes (and no, the Three Stooges did not write the book). It has been known to be effective. Go for an eye jab or try to gouge an eye out. Remember, your life is on the line here. The nose is also a vulnerable point; hammer it with a fist or forcibly jab a stiff finger all the way up a nostril and maybe hook and pull or twist (or does this just work with human predators?).
Another human predator technique can possibly be tried if the animal is a male. Go for a sack grab and make like a nutcracker. Hold on and squeeze until the animal weakens.

(I don’t know if there have been any studies done to see if wildlife predators have the same sensitivity in this area as human predators so it might not work. I would venture a guess that participants in such a study would not be volunteers. Or maybe there has been such a study; maybe those who participated are those individuals we occasionally run across and refer to as ‘Numbnuts.’)

If one’s thinking, ‘Oh, I could never do something like that,’ you might have already lost the fight (and possibly, your life). What’s your life worth to you? Now would be a good time to decide what you will do if such a situation arises with a predator. Once in the fight, thinking time is over.

Keep up with all the noise you can make. Make it sound aggressive—roar. Shout that you are going to rip his head off!
Try to stay on your feet and protect your neck and head (so don’t try to bite his ear off, thus exposing your throat).

You can’t plan to be always ready. Sometimes these animals come in close to populated areas. You can’t always carry bear or other capsaicin spray on your belt. If you carry spray, be sure it is readily accessible (I’m talkin’ FAST here), not stuffed in a pocket or in a tight carrying sleeve that takes two hands to get the canister out.

I have no idea of how I would react to an attack but I sure hope I would put maximum effort into it and have some luck (and possibly draw from a bit of good karma).

You’ve seen hikers out there, bent over, looking down, walking slow, and huffing like a bellows. Presenting an image of a slow, inattentive, weak animal. This is a predator’s idea of meals-on-wheels. Yet another reason to get into decent shape; you don’t want to present such an image.

Like I mentioned, predators are primed to chase fleeing prey, and movement catches their eye. This does no sound good for trail runners and mtn. bikers.

I heard a joke on a CBC Laugh Out Loud podcast. Part of one comedian’s skit was about a bear encounter. He suggested slowly backing up in a zigzag pattern so as not to step in one’s own sh*t.

July sixty minutes sixty years—2578 minutes
July Triple 18—pecs/delts: 4780; core: 2860; legs: 4095

“Children have it all over adults, possessing magical powers of imagination. Then they grow into cynical tall people. That’s the whole problem with the human race: reverse metamorphosis. We turn from butterflies into caterpillars. The key to keeping your wings is regular exercise of your kindergarten muscles of make-believe.”
from Tim Dorsey’s ‘Nuclear Jellyfish’


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