new people, 40’, life/wintering in the 17K,
boomerangs, and PLBs

I picked up a member’s magazine from an RV organization at a park’s book exchange. One of the articles had this gem: ‘We boondock in family’s driveways, at Walmart and in parking lots. In Canada, most of the provincial campgrounds have no services, so we boondock there. Our friends boondock at Casinos and camping store parking lots.’ Good grief.

Before one leans to type, he uses two index fingers to hunt & peck. After he learns to type, all fingers and thumbs were used. Now one uses only two thumbs to enter data. Hmm.

I went up to a guy’s site who was dry camping at Villanueva. Ben travels with a car and utility trailer for the past year or so. He’s really into good bread and bakes some every week in a Dutch oven. He went into a Cabela’s one day, picked up a book on Dutch oven cooking, skimmed it, and picked up all the gear he thought he would need to get into it. Not bad. He gave me some of a loaf he had just baked and it was delicious. He bakes both yeast and unleavened bread. He was dry camping in a national forest last summer when there were fire restrictions so he bought a small propane oven to still be able to bake bread. Dedication. We met up again at Bottomless and Oliver Lee.

I came across Victoria and Henry again this year. Victoria and her one-eye little dog were dry camping at CoR. Whenever I see Victoria’s Dolphin, she is never at a hookup, not ever for a month or two in the winter. She’s tough. We sat and talked a couple times while she was here.

I came across Lynn at Bottomless. She just started full-timing and has a pickup with a small, older camper on the back. Lynn travels with a dog and a cat. I remember my first year at this. I hate bein’ at the bottom of a learning curve.

The same week, I came across Julie, traveling in a van. I think she mentioned that she has a class C up by Taos. She’s really into rendezvous, using the name Moon Runnin’.

One night Lynn made a batch of hot mulled apple juice (couldn’t find cider) and the three of us enjoyed mugs of it around a small campfire at Julie’s site. A nice time. The taste brought back memories so I looked up a recipe and picked up the ingredients the next time I went to town. Sure hits the spot on cold evenings.

I met Daryl at CoR. He was traveling with an A-Liner. I saw him out on the trails everyday with his dog. One morning he was already coming down from the mesa as I was running up. He used to be a game warden. Probably the most interesting new person I’ve come across so far this winter.

I’ve become SO spoiled with high-alcohol craft beers (9-10%) last year that I longer drink much beer (not that I was drinking all that much anyway). I walked into the brewery pub in Deming with my growler, that Judy and Larry took me to last winter, looking forward to some fine barley wine. I went from anticipation to disappointment. They would not be brewing any high-alcohol beers for a few months. Guano.

Presently, my favorite store-bought beer is Stone IPA (6.9%). It is free from chemical preservatives, additives and adjuncts—big ‘hoppy&$8217; taste and aroma. From the bottle, ‘Ingredients: nothing but barley, hops, water and yeast.’ Very tasty. Any quality beer needs to be poured into a glass so you can take in the aroma. It also needs to be sipped and held in your mouth for a bit, like a wine. If one drinks squirrel piss, just chug it down from the can; there’s no taste or aroma anyway.

After my first 2-week stint at CoRs, I went to the Burro Mtns. for a week and dispersed camped near the Continental Divide Trail. I set up 1100’ higher than CoRs. A cold spell came through towards the end of the week. 6400’ up in the mountains in January. Well, I never alluded to being one of the brightest crayons in the box.

As I’ve stated before, on moving days, once I find a spot to camp, I open the door for Mesa and Meadow and they dart out to check out the new yard as I position and level the trailer and set up camp. In the Burros, I misjudged where I would get the most benefit from the early morning sun. So the following morning after a hike, leaving M&M in the Nash, I pulled the trailer ahead 40’. I opened the door and they came flying out, looking all around, and spent the next hour scoping out the new spot. We moved FORTY FEET! It took SECONDS! What, you think you‘re going to see something new here? Maybe felines are not as bright as I think they are.

This past year I saved a good deal of the paperbacks I read rather than leave them in laundromats. Between two NMSPs, I managed to exchange 30 books. Not bad. I also hit my favorite thrift store for paperbacks. It always has a good selection and they still sell them for only 25 cents. Picked up forty more.

Well, I’ve been in the Northwood Nash 17K for ten months now. Don’t think I could have made a better choice. M&M are just as pleased with it. They’ve never seen a bed before. They more or less claimed it from day one but they let me spread my sleeping bag on it at night. I’m most grateful for this. AND the Nash has INSULATION!!!!!! and GROUND CLEARANCE!!!!!! and NO CARPETIING on the floor, let alone on the WALLS and CEILING!!!!!!!! Maybe I spent too many years in a Casita.

I was going to write a page about life in the 17K but I pretty much covered everything on the pages since I bought the Nash. So this will probably just be some minor stuff.

At some point I will replace the foam used in the seat cushions. I can’t see the stock foam lasting for any length of time. It needs to be much more dense (for me).
The mattress is thinner and lighter than a regular mattress. It works okay for me but I’m not sure it would hold up for a couple. I prefer its lighter weight over long-term comfort but that might change.

The sliding windows/screen design could be better. Critters up to the size of flies, bees, wasps, and moths have not trouble whatsoever entering the RV if the slide windows are open. I camped one day where the flies were really thick. They were coming in by droves before I looked closely at the windows. They were making like a conga line along the window/screen tracks. There’s a ¼” gap at all those spots. Guano. I had to close all the windows and it was too windy to keep the roof vents open. Not a pleasant afternoon. Don’t yet know how I’m going to fix this problem.

Often RV windows are under overhead cabinets or just don’t extend much up the wall. So one can’t see out all that far or one has to be sitting down to take full advantage of the view. The two large windows in the Nash reach nearly to the ceiling so one can be standing up in the rig and have an extended view. Granted, many rigs are like this but after so many years in the Casita, it sure seems pretty cool. Just another thing to keep in mind when shopping for a new rig.

I don’t think the paint on the trailer frame could be any thinner. The frame’s paint on my other rigs lasted for years. A lot of the Nash’s didn’t last for months. The metal also might not have been adequately cleaned and primed before painting. I’m guessing that is the cause of all the rust spots. Definitely NOT looking forward to wire-brushing the frame and repainting it.

They could use a higher quality propane regulator. My first one puffed/leaked and was replaced. The second one doesn’t turn to red when a tank runs out. That almost caught me off-guard the first time that happened. Now I just remove the cover and tap the tank if I think It’s getting low.

The aluminum front gravel guard of the trailer can be a problem. It’s about a foot too high. When driving towards the sun, the glare in the rearview mirror is pretty intense. Turning the rearview mirror doesn’t help all that much since the glare also bounces off the outside mirrors. And the aluminum is so thin, I can not see it holding up for long on the dirt and gravel roads. But all the same, I’m glad it’s there for as long as it lasts.

I sure like the two 7-gal propane tanks. They come in handy in the cold months and when out off-the-grid. Many rigs this size and larger only have two 5-gal tanks.
A tangent; the tank cover need to fit snugly. Not too loose, or it could blow off while out on the highway. Not too tight, or it will be like wrestling with a bear to get it off. Move the two tanks closer or farther apart by a quarter inch to attain the proper fit.

It’s great to have a decent size fridge again. I’m eating healthier. It’s also a boon for 3-week stints.
Still have not used the oven (continue to look for brownies, though), the microwave, or the head. Guess they will work if I ever use them. I use the microwave and oven for storage.
Another thing is the electric awning. As I’ve said in the past, I rarely extend an awning all the way out and I set a slant to it, mostly to deal with wind. With an electric awning, you can’t get a slant unless the awing is all the way out. Guano.

I needed updated tags for M&M. I talked about Boomerang pet tags before. I think they are the best for this type of lifestyle since you have text on both sides. On one side I have the standard info but where the phone # is suppose to go, I have my email address (it’s the only line long enough for the text). The other side reads:
cell #
on-the-road home
travel trailer
license plate #

This info should help when out in the sticks (or even a cg) if one comes across your pet and might think it is a stray.

I don’t often spend $280 for something I hope I never use, but….
I emailed Tom a while back and mentioned that I was finally going to get a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) or messenger and he sent me a link to an REI page comparing the two systems. Thanks, Tom.

As you know, I spend months off-the-grid where there is no cell phone coverage and more often than not, no one around. Generally there are no trails so I just go off cross-country or along cow paths, washes, whatever, climbing over deadfalls, rocks and the like. So I was WAY past acquiring a device like this. A PLB is a portable transmitter that can send out an emergency signal up to a network of military satellites. The satellites then send one’s information to a search-and-rescue team. This is all good. A PLB is only to be used when you are totally screwed and there is no way you can manage a self-rescue.

Back in the ‘70s when I was into sailboats and thinking about taking off cruising, I would have gotten an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). Pretty much the same thing, but PLBs are the size of a cell phone. One is for maritime use and one is for land use.

I purchased an ACR Electronics ResQLink+ 406MHz GPS ( With the GPS option, the rescue team can come within 100 meters of your would-be grave. At that distance, my voice, whistle or signal mirror should get their attention.
When I get a chance, I’m going to check out their Survival Club web site @
Users upload their survival stories. Should be interesting reading.

The other option is a messenger such as the SPOT or DeLorme messengers. Many choose to go this route since they allow short text messages and sends your location coordinates to friends and family who can alert a rescue team if there is a problem (well, unless they don’t pick up the phone).
‘Problem’ might be inadequate for the situation. I mean, there you are, not able to move because of broken bones, waiting for the big guy in a black robe carrying a scythe to come along. ‘Time’s up dude.’

Anyway, for a last ditch tool, a PLB is the way to go (in my most humble opinion). The signal is WAY stronger and remember, the signal goes up to military satellites; a messenger’s signal goes up to commercial satellites. Also a SPOT or DeLorme will cost you $150 a year. There is no monthly fee for a PLB but you will have to pay big-time for the rescue (same with using a messenger). If I need help, I want the strongest distress signal going out and I want it to go right to a rescue team. A couple friends said something like, ‘about time;’ another friend used somewhat stronger words.

I need to register my PLB later this week; law mandates registering a signal beacon and doing so can provide the rescue team with some basic data.
I’ll soon be testing the unit. Under a small cover, are two buttons; one turns on the signal beacon and the other tests the internal circuitry and batteries. I wonder if anyone ever pressed the wrong button when testing the unit. I can imagine a helicopter zooming into my site at City of Rocks to rescue me. THAT would be a very expensive mistake.

ACR Electronics, knowledgably, planned ahead for possible use by bozos. The ON button needs to not only be pressed, but held down for one second. This provides time for one to think, ‘HOLY SH*T! WHAT am I doin’?’ and release the button before the signal gets sent up. One can then press the TEST button.

Went back up to the Burros after another 2-week stay at CoR. Warmer this time and more great hiking. The longer hikes help me get my sixty-for-sixty minutes in for these darn 28-day months.
One morning hiking up Jack’s Peak, I passed a slim older fella with white hair and beard, said good morning and kept going. On the way down, he wasn’t all that far from the top. I stopped and we talked for a while. He used to be a fireman and EMT. Nine years ago he had a stroke and he figures doing things like this is good for his health. Other than a slight speech problem, he seemed to be doing okay. He said he still has small clots in his brain but they are too far in for the doctors to get to. That’s scary. Almost sounds like he has a mini time-bomb in his head. Anyway, people like this inspire me. I sure wish I’d come across more of them.

Doesn’t it seem that for some, dwelling on wheels gives them an illusion that their life is going somewhere?

February Olio—fireman carry

This is something everyone should know how to do. There might be a time when you need to move someone heavier than yourself. Or you might have to be carried, and you can explain how the other person can get you up on her shoulder.
Practice with a friend to be sure you really know how to do it. You don’t want an emergency situation to be the first time you try it. That’s often not the best time for clear thinking.
If one is way too heavy or weak to attempt such a carry, maybe you can take this as a wake-up call. One does not want to be a burden in an emergency or too weak to get a friend out of a harmful situation; it’s an aspect of social responsibility that few seem to care about. Living with one foot in the grave can soon be followed by the other foot.

January sixty minutes sixty years—2705 minutes
January Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2330; core: 1920; legs: 3270

Considering how little we know, it seems only natural for us
to be in a constant state of wonder.
Where is there room for boredom and apathy?

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’


Hey, I have a PLB, too - great insurance, and you may not actually have to pay for the rescue, depending on where you are and who does the rescue.

As for accidentally turning it on, you'll get a call (assuming you've registered it and are within cell range) from the Air Force Coordination Rescue Center asking if you're OK. If it was an accident, they're pretty nice about it. Here's a link about a guy who repeatedly set his off:

IMO, everyone who is ever out of cell reach should have one. Lots of stories about saving other people with one, too.
Tom said…
I'm glad you got the PLB. Anything could happen out in the wilderness when you're by yourself. It's good insurance and I hope you never have to use it. Stay safe... Tom

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