Monday, December 14, 2015

bags of what?! slippin’ n’ slidin’,
you hear something? mini-book,
and two photos



There were a lot of rabbits up on the bluff; mostly cottontails but a few jacks like this one.
Ever notice when driving along a dirt road, if a cottontail comes out, it tends to run across the road? If it’s a jackrabbit, it tends to take off down the road ahead of the vehicle, as if to outrun it. Strange.


I gathered two bags of processed grass for a few campfires this winter (some refer to it as cow pies). They have a pleasant smell when burning, but I’m sure there would be some who would complain if they noticed what was being burned. It was a different mindset back during western progression and the use of buffalo chips (correctly referred to as bison chips).


Well, I had my most interesting moving day last month. Listening to NOAA weather on my Etón Scorpion, I heard that it was going to rain, snow and stay inclement for the next two or three days. The red dirt is very slick and I would be stuck here for awhile. I decided to head out early in the morning trying to beat the weather; one of my many dumb ideas. Rain woke me up at 4:00 so I decided to get up and was pulling out by 6:00. I saw 18 rabbits running about in the first mile driving through the sage. The dirt roads were a bit slick but not too bad; I felt more at ease upon reaching the asphalt. Little did I know what was to come. It was snowing to the south a bit and as hwy. 191 gained elevation heading toward Monticello, it was becoming slippery. On one uphill, the Dodge started sliding to the left, just crossing the centerline. Not good. I took my foot off the gas, waited until there was traction, steered back into my lane, shifted into 4WD and drove along about 35 mph. Luckily there was very little traffic at that time and most people had slowed down. The road was much better through Monticello, merely slushy. Hwy 491 to Cortez, CO got worse and worse. I had gotten back into 2WD but ended up sliding two more times. This is somewhat unsettling while pulling a trailer. The second slide had the Dodge halfway into the oncoming lane (SO not good) and the last one, fully across the oncoming lane almost to the shoulder. I had to pull over after this slide to chill out a bit. I really lucked out since more and more cars and trucks were coming the other way as the morning wore on. I kept in 4WD at 30-35 mph for the last 20 miles to Cortez. I pulled over whenever three vehicles or a tractor trailer got behind me, and that was only three or four times. When I got to Cortez I noticed a Best Western and pretty much decided to get off the road for the day. I did some shopping in Walmart and when I got out, hwy. 160 was clearing up and it was partially sunny. The mountains to the east towards Durango were overcast but not dark, so I decided to keep going. It wasn’t too bad, all the way to Pagosa Springs. Hwy. 84 going over the mountain south towards Chama was back to slick and slow, snowy and poor visibility, definitely 4WD. I was dreading the downhill right sweeper coming down off the other side, but it was okay. What a day. I mean it’s not as if I don’t have experience driving on slick roads, having grown up in Jersey, and lived in Lake Placid, NY, and Alta and Park City, UT. Pulling a trailer in such conditions was new, however.

I know the correct procedure when a vehicle starts to slide is to turn in the direction of the skid (steer in the direction your car's ‘back’ end is going). Simply, steer in the direction you want to go. AND STAY OFF THE BRAKE! Where one can go wrong, is to steer back too aggressively and over-correct. Probably putting the vehicle into severe fishtailing, and possibly into a spin (and off the road).

I didn’t do this, other than staying off the gas and brake. Firstly because there were no oncoming vehicles, so I had a choice of how to respond to the slide. I let the truck go until traction was restored and then gently steered back into my lane. The trailer swept back and forth a bit, but not what I would call true fishtailing. The second reason I chose this action is because counter-steering may increase the swaying and eventually result in a loss of control. But often, one does not have a choice. If a vehicle were in the approaching lane, I would have steered back. But the trailer would have probably fishtailed into the oncoming lane.
Two years ago, I got the Nash fishtailing after I did something dumb, and that, most assuredly, was fishtailing. What a rush. I could feel all that weight sweeping back and forth, quickly building up a lot of power. At that point, I understood how a trailer could overturn on a straight road.
Yes, a most memorable day.


There was no one at Heron Lake state park when I pulled in and there were a few inches of snow on the cg road.


I got in a 2-hour hike each morning I was there, the first couple in snow, then snow and mud (whoopee). There were a few rigs passing through during the week, but no one was around the last three days I was there. Nice and quiet.


You hear that?

Pulled out heading south to Santa Rosa state park, and, as always, stopped at Three Ravens in TA for a muffin and a mug of Paul’s High Octane coffee (w/two shots of espresso) to go. One mug of that and one is good for the whole day.

I need lists when I’m out and about, for when I think of something I want to do the next time I’m working on my MacBook or have access to wi-fi; to write down things I need to pick up in stores, whatever. Or I’ll forget, no doubt about it.
I used to carry one of those small 3 x 5” spiral notebooks. But I don’t need all those pages. A number of years ago I learned how to fold a sheet of printer paper into a small 2¼ x 4¼“ 8-page mini-book. Priceless (at least for me).

Watch a how-to video

text w/photos

Since one will have a pen in her/his pocket, one can search on the web for how to use a pen as a defense weapon. Never know when you might wish you knew how. And you’re not carrying a ‘weapon.’


I looked at the current Nash brochure on the Northwood Manufacturing website
(3rd page) and they used two of my photos. Way cool.

And, I have a picture of Mesa posted on the RVwest gallery. Scroll down a bit.

As you know, I like the comedy of Derek Edwards, a Canadian. Check out this skit.


I like making a loop while hiking at Bottomless, walking up to Mirror Lake, then hiking up onto the bluff, and back to Lea Lake, staying on top. I came across a guy who was flying a remote craft from the overlook. It was a DJI Phantom 3 quad copter. What a stellar craft. He put bright LEDs across front curve of copter. It must look like a UFO at night, especially around Roswell. There was an awesome camera attached underneath the quadcopter for video or stills. If I am remembering right, the craft could be set for self-takeoff. When it rose up 40’ or so, it went into a hover if the thumb toggles weren’t touched. In fact, the Phantom 3 automatically went into a hover whenever the pilot released the thumb toggles. Even I could probably fly one of these. The Phantom can fly out over a mile and still maintain a signal, and with the camera, the pilot knows what’s going on, even though he can’t see the copter. Again, if I’m remembering right, there is a kind of failsafe, maybe when losing battery power, and the Phantom comes back to where the flight started, and lands. Unreal, I was totally impressed.

My second etón solar powered radio is dying; it only works during the day, even though the screen shows a full charge. I don’t always have a signal when off-the-grid, but when I do, it’s nice to have access to a weather station. With two strikes against etón, I looked into ratings for other solar powered radios. What I found surprising, is the number one rated solar portable radio is the etón Scorpion, the one I presently have. Guess I’ll order another one at some point.

November sixty minutes sixty years—2095 minutes
November Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2010; core: 2085; legs: 2030

What lies behind us and what lies before us
are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Oliver Wendell Holmes


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’