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

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 and 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. Also, clean the spray hole with a toothbrush from time to time.

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’


Unknown said…
Thanks for a very enjoyable read. The description of your trailer reminds me of when I described my fifth wheel to others. There was no furnace, no microwave, no awning and no slide out. Yup.It was a hard sided tent.
Enjoying your blog, as usual. Keep on livin'. Chinle

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