Tuesday, March 11, 2014

park model, rick’s ’66, 4 miles an hour,
and a kindle




I’m sure I’ve mentioned somewhere on these pages that I like park model trailers. Now I REALLY like them. I can’t see me ever getting one but the ones by WheelHaus look mighty fine. They are high-end units, starting around $90,000.

Park models are built on a trailer chassis, registered as RVs, and are limited to 400 sq. ft. They can be moved from time to time but they are designed to be used, pretty much, in one spot. The photo is of their Wedge model.

This site also has some pretty cool units:
http://smallhousebliss.com/category/small-prefab-and-modular-houses/

I was reading ‘World Ark,’ the Heifer International magazine, and there was an article about a small village in Nepal. The women make two 3-hour hikes each day, to haul water for their families and animals. There is a 5,000’ elevation difference from down where the water is, back up to the mountaintop village. Unreal. And forget about holidays and sick days. I’ve heard of similar stories—but 5,000’! I bet the husbands in this village never piss-off their wives.

Theresa and David (Moab friends) told me about Prosecco sparkling wine from northern Italy. I finally came across a bottle of it. Very tasty.

Been spending time with people I’ve met over the winters, mostly Dennis, Jim, and Jerry. It sure is nice catching up on what they have been doing the past year. There’s always a lot of stories to listen to.



I drove over to the Faywood post office to pick up a general delivery package and Rick drove up. He used to be a ranger at CoR and lives in an old adobe in Faywood. It was good to see him again. He was in a ’66 Chevrolet pickup he bought 38 years ago for $700. Rick put 5 engines, 3 transmissions, and 2 rear ends in the truck and had it painted twice over the years. The parts did not break down exactly, they wore out. The truck has 500,000 miles on it. Down in Mexico, he recently had new upholstery put in, oak boards laid down in the bed, and repainted in an eye-catching shade of green with a white roof. It sure is lookin’ sweet. As you can see, he also has a car alarm. Rick spends a lot of time fishing now that he’s retired.


Back in 2005, Bernice Ende, a retired teacher from Montana, went off on a trip, traveling at 4 miles an hour. Ende has since ridden over 18,000 miles on horseback with a couple of packhorses. Her dog, Claire, walked the first ride of 2,000 miles, as well as, the second ride of 5,000 miles. Now she rides in a box on one of the packhorses, Essie Pearl, a Norwegian Fjord.
This link might still work:
http://www.today.com/video/today/49147653#49147653

This is someone who must have all kinds of stories to share.

Ende grew up on a farm and both her parents rode horses. As she states it, she was riding before she was born. At the age of 4, she could ride by herself and had hundreds of acres on the family farm in Minnesota to ride on (after chores were done). I would have loved a childhood like that.

Well, I placed my yearly order for miscellaneous items and had them shipped to a mail service in Silver. One item was a Fox40 pealess whistle. I carry a regular whistle in my pack when I’m out and about but then I read about the Fox40. The 120dB Fox40’s sound is suppose to carry over a mile. I figure I’ll pack it with my PLB.

Another item was one I thought I would never purchase—a Kindle. With a Kindle, one is limited to purchasing ebooks through Amazon. The readable formats are more restricted than with the Barnes & Noble Nook. Also one pays $10 or more for a current best seller and $4-8 for others. It just did not make sense to me. But many who live on wheels prefer a Kindle to lugging around the bulk and weight of dozens of paperbacks.

I started talking with a volunteer I knew at CoR who was sitting in the visitor center reading from her Kindle. She has had her Kindle for over a year and has never purchased a book. This was a different take on the idea. The next time I had web access I came across numerous sites that offer thousands of free ebooks formatted for the Kindle. So I ordered a Kindle Paperwhite, and the free downloads are easy to acquire. Not bad, I’m pleased.

You might remember, last winter I downloaded around ninety free books in pdf format to read on my Mac. ebook readers can read pdf files but the text is very small (and landscape doesn’t help much). Opening them in Adobe Reader, saving as text, and downloading to the Kindle can work for simple pdf files. It still wasn’t good enough for me so I downloaded the free calibre application and have been having good luck with it. After calibre converts the pdf book and sends it to the Kindle, it’s easy to read. One can increase the size of the text just as with a Kindle formatted ebook. Not bad, simple and free. I’ll eventually convert all my pdf books.
There are numerous sites that offer thousands of free pdf books and all the classics are offered in pdf format. Though I can’t see me reading Moby Dick again, however. I doubt if I’ll ever purchase a book for the Kindle.

The Kindle paperwhite model is the way to go. It can be read in the dark or out in sunlight—in bed or around a campfire. No more LED on when I turn in and it looks like I will no longer be using my headlamp for reading when sitting by a small fire in the fire-pan.

Every prior year, I headed north with two totes of paperbacks that I worked through during the year. Like I said, a lot of bulk and weight. A Kindle sure simplifies one aspect of my life. This year I’m heading north with maybe half a tote and left the rest in my 5x8 cargo trailer. I still like holding a paperback and turning pages, so I’ll always have some paperbacks around.
Anyway, I’m glad I finally got a Kindle.

Have you noticed many retirees seem to just yawn their way through each day, allowing nothing to cause excitement, let alone enthusiasm? Others, more or less crave, and definitely value, moments of surprise, beauty or novelty. Hmm.


Susan travels with her dog Joey, in a ‘85 Dolphin with only 46,000 miles on it. One real nice lady, good to talk with—and she laughs. The three of us went on a hike one morning. I inadvertently asked her a question while we were on a long uphill slope (not the best time for talking). Susan kept right on hiking while talking, and not sounding as if she was going to keel over. Must be in pretty good shape. One evening we sat next to a pan fire for a couple hours, talking, sipping wine, and looking at the stars while listening to the flute of R. Carlos Nakai. Can’t get much better. Sure would like to meet up with her again. We’ll see how the gods roll the dice.

Before I pulled out of CoR, I went over to Denny’s site to say goodbye until next winter. He would be starting north before I got back in a week. Stopped at Jim’s spot but it looks like I’ll be seeing him again in a week or so. He’ll be leaving CoR but would be back. I think it’s pretty cool that most of my winter acquaintances say their farewells before heading north. Each then going off, spending months accumulating stories to share when we meet again next winter.
Went back to the Burros for one last week. I sure like the early morning hiking there. A couple cold mornings; the inside temps were down in the mid-30s when I got out of the bag.
This time I brought extra water to clean the Dodge and Nash and picked at waxing them both during the week. I try to wax the two twice a year. Not something I enjoy doing but podcasts and audio books make it bearable.

Still have not decided what areas to check out this summer, I wonder if I should care? Probably still shoot for checking out the Carson National Forest between Chama and Taos, the Santa Fe National Forest, and the Rio Grande National Forest in southern Colorado. Maybe I’ll go back to the Kaibab for September or up into the La Sal Mtns. For October, it’s pretty much a given where I’ll be. As if it all couldn’t change in a day.

The equinox—chick time! My running total to Heifer International is now 3 goats and 2 flocks of chicks.

March Olio—trucker’s hitch


I’ve used a good deal of knots and the trucker’s hitch is one of my favorites. For strapping something down tight, it’s hard to beat—quick and easy. If you don’t already know it, you might want to learn it. I sure find it useful. There are more substantial versions of the hitch for strapping down real heavy loads but this one works well for most tasks. After you pull the end down tight, put a double half hitch around itself, just under the loop, to hold it in place.

February sixty minutes sixty years—1910 minutes
February Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2740; core: 2250; legs: 3880

It is impossible to live without failing at something,
unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.
J. K. Rowling


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