Tuesday, July 22, 2014

3-week hard-wall camping stints off-the-grid
and music



Since I’ve been here at over 9,000’, it wasn’t until the morning of June 25 that the inside of the Nash was out of the upper 30’s or 40’s—a scorchin’ 51°. If I had been the least bit tuned in the evening before, I would have realized that the night was going to be warmer. Duh. I would have left more windows open and opened the roof vents all the way. Only had a couple mornings of frost. It’s been warming up, though. Now most mornings, the inside temp is in the low to mid 50s.

An occasional truck went by June’s spot from time to time, but only one or two a week. ATVers came along more but they tended to be ridden by older people just cruising around, and not all that many. The road was 100 yards or so away with trees in between at it’s closest. Really not all that bad. When I pulled into that spot on the edge of the meadow, there was no sign that it had been used before. When I pulled out, I stopped to naturalize the area with a shrub rake, corn broom, and sticks, to make it look as if nobody had been there. The old leave-no-trace thing. A few vehicles slowed down to check out my spot while I was there so I wouldn’t be surprised if people start using it. Hopefully they will leave it as clean as I did and not build a dumbass circle of rocks.



I moved farther in to a more isolated spot, going off on two more spur roads. Spur roads are narrow; you don’t want someone to be coming the other way. A standard width and height rig like the Nash, is going to be swiped by branches. There was a swipe on both of these spur roads. But one needs to remember—it’s a recreation vehicle.



Gateway to my current secluded spot; tight getting between the trees, though.
One of these times I’ll probably lose a rainspout or the radio antenna.


Another room with a view. I know, close to a track, but it’s rarely used; it doesn’t go anywhere. Once the track reaches the trees, it shortly comes to an end. I hike up it a couple times each week and at the end, take a line straight up the hill. You come out on a FR. From there I either continue hiking or start a run up to the end of the road. There’s a turnaround at the top and a trailhead. The trail leads up to the CO Trail. There are also two gated spurs off on the west side. I like my present spot; I can get the most elevation gain from here.


No respect for furniture.


I also came across more isolated spots while out mtn. biking and running from this site, that I could move to, even farther in. Thanks, Siscily, for suggesting this area. So far I’ve come across eleven spots within 3 or 4 miles that would work for me. Most are isolated. I have yet to see another RV or camper whenever I’ve been out and about. Most of the spots get too much sun but have great views. And really, it’s not exactly hot up here. Most have two or three slow rough and rocky sections to drive over for access (like my present spot). Not something I like to remember during the thunder and lightning storms we’ve been having. And once again, there’s just one road out.

If the thunderstorms continue, I’ll think about moving to a spot with more of a view of the ridgeline to the west. The ones that would work best, however, would be out in the sun all day, but I could keep a lookout for smoke. I don’t know; I really like my present spot and there is no one within a couple miles or more.

There are enough large, shaded spots along the main forest roads for RVs so none seem to bother going off on spur roads. This is good. The one time I biked past those spots on the way down off the mountain, all the spots were empty. Strange.

Finally packed away the Wave 6, the first week of July. I like the extra floor space.
My current spot does not get early morning sun so it’s chillier but then it is in the sun the rest of the day. It’s been working out okay since it generally clouds over and rains most afternoons. If it stays sunny, I put reflectix on two back windows to keep down the inside temp. If it gets too hot, there are three spots pretty much in the shade, I can move to.


Plenty of roads for bikin’.

Okay—3-week stints of hard-wall camping off the grid.

Going off dry camping for a week can feel pretty good; many do it. One takes a break from the normality of day-to-day life. People set up in a campground with neighbors and the outdoors. Cooking outside, going for walks on the trails, and sitting around a campfire in the evenings. Pretty much the norm.

One can also go off disperse camping. Some notice a difference between merely being in the outdoors, and being out in nature. There is no one around, no structures, no sounds of generators or loud music, no smells of barbecue, the stench of cigarettes, no dogs, or whatever else one experiences in campgrounds. It is most assuredly, not for most people. One needs to feel comfortable with the solitude and the quiet. One also needs to have developed a number of interests and activities that they enjoy, and can be done out there. This is NOT a lifestyle for those who get bored and need to be entertained. Oh wait, doesn’t that generally refer to children?


For me, three-week stints off-the-grid seem to enhance the experience of hard-wall camping (off-the-grid: no cell phone reception, no internet (guano), no water, power, and sewer hookups). Making a town-run every week wasn’t giving me the mindset of really being out in Nature. With three weeks, I’m set out there; I get all the benefits. A town run once every 3 weeks just becomes a required aspect of this lifestyle. Multiple back-to-back 3-week stints take it all up a notch. I feel as if I’m actually living out in Nature, not merely visiting. I don’t know; it might just be a head thing but it seems different from shorter stays. Local wildlife start to accept the campsite, the movements, sounds, and smells as part of their realm and venture closer to check us out. I don’t think I’ve ever camped near a noisier group of squirrels but even this crew quieted down somewhat after a couple weeks.

I like traveling through these unfamiliar areas. Going off in all directions, trekking through the woods, over hills, across meadows, following streams and wherever. Hiking along game trails and cow paths gives a different perspective from the normal way of learning about an area. Running and mtn. biking extends it farther out. All the excursions offer new sights and terrain and just hiking a loop in the opposite direction can feel like a new hike.

It takes time to do all this, but remember, this is my ‘bucket life.’ As I’ve stated before, I never had a ‘bucket list,’ but I definitely had a lifestyle I wanted to live. This enables me to do my kind of traveling. Being out on the asphalt, towing the Nash and driving to a new area, is just a moving day to me. (Like I talked about on the June 2013 page, of ‘not feeling it.’)

One is not going to be the least bit interested in all this unless she/he truly understands what it means to be out in Nature, taking it all in. If one’s not open to it, there’s nothin’ there for you.

3-week stints work well for me. But after 3 weeks I really need to make a town run for fresh produce, supplies, and some socializing. Town-run-day is like a workday, usually not much fun. I just run through a list of things that need to be taken care of.

Last time I was in town, a bit of my socializing was inadvertently squirting a woman with a hose. I have a white 4’ hose I sometimes use to fill up my water containers. This lady was taking a break in her car with the windows open next to where I was filling my water jugs. The hose whipped out of the top of one jug and sent a spray of water into her car. Luckily she took it well. I noticed she was reading a J.D. Robb novel and I mentioned that I enjoy that series. So we had a nice talk for a few minutes about the characters and how they developed over the years. I don’t recommend this method of opening a conversation, however. I can not see it working all that often.


3-week stints take a bit of forethought. You don’t want to be out there and realize you are not going to have enough of something, even little stuff like: socks and boxers, wash clothes, pillow cases, sleeping bag liners, dish towels (old wash cloths work well [if you live in a small space, you want to scale many things down]), microfiber towels (general cleaning), TP, pet supplies, and the like.

Water and food are the two big things to plan but it’s not difficult. First off, you’ll have to figure out your daily water consumption, so you know how much to pack in. 45 gallons cover me for 3 weeks and it’s all in 5-gallon buckets and Reliance containers.

When you’re off-the-gird, be aware of how much water you use for different purposes. Conserver where you can but do not stint on drinking it when it is hot.
When I was living off a mooring for a few months back in the 70s (a good place to learn how to conserve water), I used to spend time with an old couple who lived aboard a beautiful little schooner. They pointed something out to me while washing dishes. Ever notice how much water it takes to rinse off dishes if a normal amount of dish soap is used? It takes quite a bit to get all the suds off. When I’m out dry camping, I only put one drop (or less) of Dawn into a bowl, pot, mug, or whatever I’m washing. It provides enough lather and takes way less water to rinse. I know, sounds extreme, but sometimes I want to extend my time out there for a couple days and if I’ve been conserving water, I can. Different strokes.

Most of your fresh food will be consumed by the beginning of the second week. People tell you not to put bananas in the fridge. BUT, if you wait until they are ripe before you put them in the fridge, they will keep for another two weeks. The skin will continue to turn brown, but the fruit stays at the ripe stage. I eat A LOT of bananas.

I pack the freezer with frozen vegetables and fruit, pizza (first cut into slices [cook on stove]), tofu, tempeh and ‘veggie ground’ (if I can find them), two loaves of bread, a couple packages of tortillas, and extra mozzarella.

I eat a lot of grains so I’m always well stocked with quinoa, millet, couscous and spaghetti. I also purchase some canned legumes and Mexican tomatoes, as well as, packages of dried fruit and sun-dried tomatoes (thanks, Janet). For a change, sometimes I stock up from the Mexican or Asian food section at the grocery store. I stock plenty of dried hot chili flakes, powder and pods, and vegetarian bullion cubes for the one-pot grain meals. And always, nonfat milk powder for when the two gallons of fresh milk runs out.

It might help to plan some special meals for the last week or so, before you do a town run. That’s when I break out the frozen fruit and pizza, cans of fruit, peanut butter, marmalade, and whatnot.

I drink a lot of juice during the second and third weeks. I’ll go through three 2-qt. bottles of grape juice, diluted it with 50% water. I end up with three gallons of fruit juice that is still sweet enough for me. Susan reminded me about V8 so now I also drink two 2-qt. bottles of vegetable juice during those days. I generally also have a gallon jug of Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng for the last days.

If one is not into this type of food, just cruise the grocery aisles looking for canned, boxed, bagged, and frozen foods that suit your taste.

As I’ve said before, separate your trash; bury organic matter, burn paper & cardboard, and you’ll only have one or two small bags of trash at the end of three weeks. I flatten the juice jugs, throw them in the back of the pickup, and put them in trash containers during the town run. Many small towns do not have garbage pickup so you’ll have to take your trash to the town dump like everyone else, and pay for it. In other towns, the dumpsters are privately rented and you can get an earful if you approach one with a large bag of trash. But dropping a small bag and crushed plastic containers in various trash bins doesn’t cause a problem. I also always stop to top up the gas tank; that gives me access to another trash container.
I sure do appreciate a good bottle of wine, But, it’s the trash-thing. So I generally save bottles for the winter parks and stick to box wines such as, Bota Box and Black Box. One plus is spending less on wine in the warm months.

Consider doing your town-runs on Wednesday or Thursday. Chances are that if ATVers or whoever comes along where you are disperse camping, it will be on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday—a good time for you to be near camp. Store shelves are generally not fully restocked by Monday or Tuesday, especially produce. Wednesdays or Thursdays are good. Once I spaced out a holiday and ended up in town on the Monday, not good. First thing—take care of laundry(I HATE waiting for machines).

Before heading into town, I: turn off the fridge and propane; set two chairs up with a paperback on each (w/bookmarks); lay the solar bag out in a place where it will be in the sun the whole time (so one doesn’t question whether you are actually close by); place food & water out for M&M; blinds down (but open); close windows; leave one small window open (one someone couldn’t climb through) with a towel under it to soak up water in case it rains; crank down roof vents most of the way (in case it rains); roll awning in; and clothespin a note to the door. My present note reads:

Hi Zach
Jason is off hiking and I’m checking out two other spots to camp.
We’re both planning to be back by the time you said you should be here.
Say hello to M&M.
If you are reading this, you’re early.
Don’t even THINK of using the shower bag.
If the chairs are knocked over—the cows were back.
K&J

Make the site look like there is more than one person there and if you are going away, make it sound as if you are in the area, will be back soon, and have friends coming. Might work, might not. I always do it.

After doing 3-week stints a couple times, it gets pretty easy. It’s how I prefer to live once I get out of the winter parks. The months each year when I’m out hard-wall camping off-the-grid really make this lifestyle special, setting it apart from standard, boilerplate full-timing. Especially when I come across an area where I can move around to different spots within a few miles and do repeat stints.
New game trails and old logging roads to wander along—the good life.

I forget, but I don’t think I had any campfires while in the mountains last year. I’m not going to have any this year (except for paper) until I get down to the desert. I no longer feel all that comfortable with fire in the mountains.


Most evenings when I’m reading, I use one of my iPod nano units with a small speaker (iHome from Walmart) for off-the-grid music. For me, it’s an absolutely stellar setup. There are over 2,000 tunes on the nano with genres ranging from classical to reggae, Celtic to pop, blues to alternative, chants to rock, a cappella to zydeco, Southwest Indian to Peruvian, and African to Japanese. I have sounds for whatever frame of mind I’m in. Both units use very little power and recharge from a USB port. Simple and efficient; fits right into the lifestyle.

I recently recalled the Japanese drumming segment on my winter solstice DVD. I looked into the drumming further through iTunes and youtube. It’s pretty awesome; as much a physical performance as a musical performance. So I downloaded a couple albums. That led to some Chinese and African drumming albums. ‘Drums of the World’ is a great album. Forty-six selections of drum music from around the world. Ordinarily, listening to drumming for more than a couple minutes would give me a headache. This drumming I can listen to for a couple hours. The music just makes me want to move. But I can’t dance; I have no sense of rhythm. I’m going to look for a DVD of basic dance steps for men. Maybe some can be applied to drum music.
Like a friend says, you’re not dead until you stop learning.

Two olios this month—the second negates the first.
A few years ago, I was searching the web for advice on what a single person could do in the event of different medical emergencies. The first olio is one technique I came across and made note of it.
After writing this month’s olio about it, I decided to recheck the web to confirm the data before I uploaded this page. I’m showing the original olio because you might have heard of the technique. The second olio is current medical info I came across.

First July Olio—Your heart attacks you and there is no one around (you are SO screwed).

To give you a chance against the bony guy in the black robe carrying a scythe—take a deep breath and then cough. Keep doing this until your chest pain eases up, or you die, whichever comes first (only joking). Continue with the deep breaths and coughs until your chest pain eases up. Also chew a 325 mg uncoated aspirin. It’s a quicker way to get it into your bloodstream. Kind of important at a time like this. The aspirin thins the blood and has been known to stop a heart from attacking. This is a good thing. Lie down so the heart can work with less effort. Call 911 if you have a cell phone signal. If not, its time to activate your PLB, while thanking the gods you had finally gotten around to purchasing one.

Second July Olio—Do not follow the above advice—it’s bogus.

The above advice has been out on the internet for years and is still being taken as fact. “The American Heart Association does not recommend that the public use this method in a situation where there is no medical supervision.“

‘Cough CPR’ has been used by medical professionals to treat sudden irregular heartbeats in controlled situations. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing increases pressure in the chest (squeezing the heart), keeping the blood circulating to the brain to aid consciousness. BUT, it’s not for the untrained person. It’s not a generic fix for all cardiac events. You could kill yourself.

There have been cases when people realized they were about to pass out and go into cardiac arrest. Cough CPR kept the oxygen-enriched blood circulating, enabling the person to remain conscious until help showed up.
BUT, one needs to hit the right rhythm with the coughs or you could turn a mild heart attack into a fatal one. It is not something that should be messed with unless there is a doctor there couching you on the cough rhythm.

I don’t know. If I was having severe pain, with no one around, and felt that I was about to lose consciousness (a pretty good sign of cardiac arrest), I might try it. But only if I was starting to lose consciousness. At that point, I might be thinking, what have I got to lose?
There are benefits to traveling with a friend.

There are two things that can help at a time like this. At the onset of chest pain or any of the other symptoms, first call 911 or activate your PLB if there is no cell phone coverage. Then chew a couple of uncoated 325 mg aspirin tablets. In your heart’s early stages of attacking you, aspirin can prevent a clot from getting bigger. This is a good thing. Then I guess lying down would be beneficial (hopefully, not to die).

Since the info stated in the first olio is widely accepted as fact, I thought it might be good to present the medical profession’s take on it. Feel free to check it out for yourself.
Hope this was informative. Take care and stay above the ground.

June sixty minutes sixty years— 2350 minutes
June Triple 18—pecs/delts: 3330; core: 2740; legs: 3220

Do it now,
you cannot do it when you're smoke and ash.


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

2 comments:

Cabinguy said...

As always great stuff that I don't find anywhere but here. Thank you for taking the time to share.

Linda Duncan said...

Am enjoying your blog. I hope to be "living this life" soon. Thanks for all the good info. Linda