RV Boondocking the Good Life

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October 1, 2008 07:35 - Some more Progress... The Squeeky Wheel gets the Grease I guess!

ee-ee, ee-ee, ee-ee! :-)

Talked to the welder first thing in the morning... and he told me to be there long 'bout 1pm... I pulled in 'bout noon plus 45...

I went over by the feed mill on the way and got some weights... My hitch weight is a bit more than I thought it would be... 1880 lbs... Of course that's without the bike on... so that, I think would actually pull some weight off the hitch and put it on the axles... and even with the bike on... with all that weight to the axles... it's still well below axle capacity. {10,400lbs from two 5,200lb axles]

That's OK too. The trailer, when hitched is only puttin' 8,140 on the axles... some 2200+ less than axle capacity... The published gross vehicle weight of the trailer is only 9995, so it's exceeded a few pounds at 10,020... but that is 380 lbs LESS than the axle capacity of 10,400... so I'm thinkin' there's a typo in the paperwork... like they put the calculated 'dry weight' where the GVW was supposed to be...

Most all the fivers I've ever seen had GVW that were usually something like 1000 to 1500 lbs over the axle capacity... figuring that weight is up on the truck... not the trailer anyway... so, my thinkin' is that the real GVW should be.. maybe is... 11,000 plus

Bottom line... I'm carryin' some weight... but it's within reasonable limits I think... currently... but I still hope and plan to bump the axles to a little heavier version... along with changing to torsion and adding a frame brace... for the carrier... No visible reason... I'd just like to KNOW it's built Cowboy tough! :-)

I've always said I was "pushin' the evelope" a mite!
Anyhoo... here's a quick peek at the additions on the Motorcycle carrier...

Cowboy II Motorcycle Carrier

Center of the Track are the new 'Footboards'...

To the left is the winch and ...

Over on the right side... you can see the pulley tower...

The winch pulled it right up fine... no more worryin' about the high lift handyman jack dumpin' the whole dang thing on my foot... There is one thing though I have to look in to...

The winch BRAKE wasn't workin' in our 'test' yesterday... All we had was a battery to power it... It wasn't fully hooked up... There's supposed to be some sort of electrical connection, when the switch is wired in that shoots some power to the winch for a 'Dynamic Brake'...

So... I need to get it wired in... maybe today... but unlikely... and see if that 'Brake' is gonna hold... otherwise... I'm back to shoppin' for another winch...

But so far I'm likin' it... just needs some paint and track traction and it's lookin' good! Oh Yeah... and the self-locking wheel chock that's going to get mounted up on the front [left] end...

That will allow me to ride the bike onto the track, ALONE, get off... tie it down... and raise it up... ALONE... and without worryin' 'bout things fallin' on my foot!

Gotta run... Red's going to the shop to see if they can find that clunk!...

ee-ee, ee-ee. ee-ee. ! :-)

Take Good Care
Brian

October 2, 2008 07:49 - Another day of Work on the Fiver.

First thing, I've got to take Heidi an' Buck in to town... They'll work the first part of the day... but then, 'bout mid-afternoon, they're takin' off for yet another Dog Agility Trial with an Agility Trialing friend...

... Which leaves me bachin' it for four days... PLENTY of time to get in a goodly amount of trouble, don't ya think? :-) ... and it'll be four days without the boob tube runnin'... I may be turned off on that brain bender... but Heidi still has to have it on... which makes it kinda tough to ignore fhe "political salesmen"...

"Don't like the baloney from my guy on the left? No Problem! ... Listen to the Bovine Fertilizer my boy on the right will stack up for you! I've paid enough to both sides to have 'em all in my pocket... just to make sure I can provide what ever brand of Extra Fortified Hooey you want to hear!"

What a waste of space... but I have the answer! Ignore the lyin' cretins, and get on about livin' whatever life I've got remaining... since I'm not gonna succeed at changin' anything those parasites do anyhoo. So...

... on my way home, I'll make a quick stop to pick up a couple more lil' pieces and then I'll be ready to attack finishing the Motorcycle Carrier Upgrade.

Much more productive, and entertaining use of my time!

Yesterday I picked up some electric cable... #4 copper stranded... at .99 cents a foot, it ain't cheap... but it should give me all the power I need to where it's goin'... The winch only has 10 gauge on it... which I thought a lil' light... but that's only a couple feet long... so with the cable I'm running from the batteries with... I should avoid the always threatening.... SPARKS AND SMOKE!

I've got most of that wiring layed out... mostly in my head... so there's still plenty of room for exciting fireworks.

Today... I have to pick up some hardware to make the attachment of the cable to the pulley tower... made a bit of an OOPS!... when I forgot to have the welder burn on a loop to 'fix' the end of the winch cable...

... but that's probably a good thing, considering that at that point I was thinking of putting the 'fixed' pulley in the wrong place...

After a conversation with Mike yesterday afternoon... I did a lil' reading on pulley systems and realized that the way I had it layed out... again... in that place that I use to keep my hat from coverin' my eyes... I had the two pulleys [fixed and movable] reversed... so... all I need is a U-bolt, or an eye bolt and I can make that lil' adjustment...

... hook up the wires...

... hit the switch on the winch... and hope that the neighbors don't hear any ear bruising, eye squinching, squealing!

And... I'm waitin' on the arrival of a self-locking wheel chock that is to replace the left/front end of the track... another... experiment to see if it will work. Those motorcycle wheel chocks are designed to work on the flat... not with the motorcycle runnin' up a track at maybe 30 degrees or so... I 'Think' it will work... it LOOKS like it will work... but don't know for sure...

What would life be without adventure... Right?! :-)

One other thing I'm kinda unsure of at this point is Mikes insistence... [and some others too] that there be a video of the 'first' lift... Mike claims there will never be another first and, for historical purposes, it should be recorded...

... I'm not sure I want the winch company to have video evidence... I may make the flick... but keep it a ... secret...

... IF... it all goes... KERPLOOOOEY BANG POW!

I'd kind of think of two 'first' lifts anyway... the 'very first' ... with nuthin' but maybe me on the track... and then the first, with the bike on...

If you don' hear from me for a few days... call the fire department and have 'em drive out toward Nunn... Looking for a birds nest of aircraft cable with a cursin', bald headed, Ol' puss gut caught up in it!

Otherwise, in a day or so, I should have the Cowboy II Motorcycle Carrier mostly operational... and maybe even the first incriminating video evidence recorded! :-)

Take Good Care
Brian

October 3, 2008 08:03 - Considering All That's Been Goin' On...

... Ya think maybe we should all take a minute or two... to do a little contemplation? A little mental housekeepin'?...

Maybe, another effort to deliberately put things into proper perspective?

Since I have a bad habit of lettin' things get out of balance... :-) ... this lil' video caught my attention when I stumbled across it... Consisdering that the speaker just passed on the 20th of September... it loans a little more credibility to the sentiment... don't it?

" class="entrylink" TARGET="_blank">Gaylord Maxwell

I was going to work on the Motorcycle Carrier today... after a couple trips to the hardware store yesterday... I think I've got all the bits and pieces to put it together in a workable fashion... but...

... after stumbling across that lil' video... I think I'll take a 'mental health day' instead! :-) ... load Lily in Big Red... and go see if those clouds piling up over the mountains... are gonna rain on me today... like they did yesterday!... I'd take Slick... but I'd feel pretty guilty about leavin' Lily Home Alone...

... That would just not be fair would it? :-)

That Motorcycle Carrier will be there when I get back... 'course... it'll be there if I don't come back too! :-)

Hmmm.... kind of makes the point don't it... Whether I bust my butt today or not... it don't change much... outside of havin' a busted butt! ... so... I might as well find the best way I can, to squeeze the most possible out of this day!

... Like they say, this is the only 3rd of October, 2008 I'm ever gonna have! ... so I'm off to squeeze the juice out of it!

Take Good Care
Brian

October 4, 2008 06:03 - Catchin' up a few 'loose ends'...

Remember I took Red in the other day... to the Truck 'Beauty Shop' where he had his repairs done a couple months ago?

We were looking for a growing rattley clank under the front end... sounded like the axle was comin' loose or some such whenever you hit a pavemnet seam, or rough spot...

Well... we found it... by accident... but we found it. We'd narrowed it down... we thought... to the left front fender! It appeared the fender was 'popping' in some way... after tweaking on it for over an hour [I hung around to help... the lucky guy huh?] :-)... we couldn't make it stop... arrrgggghhh!

The Body Shop Mechanic was sliding under the front end to try and see if he could find 'anything'... and happened to reach up and take hold of a radiator mount, to brace himself, as he slid under... clank clank clank!

I said; "What did you do?!" .... He said; "Did you hear that?!"

It wasn't the fender but that mount, down under the fender... and it wasn't loose... just 'popping' enough to make the sound... nothin' structural... but annoying... so one problem down.

Bits and pieces of my Motorcycle Carrier Modifications... I was starting to hook up cables the other day... [before I took yesterday off] ... when I realized... if I replaced that single sheave pulley in the blog picture a couple days ago, with a double sheave... and moved that single over by the winch... I could reduce the load on the winch, by a factor of 4.

Leastways, if I've done the cipherin' correctly...

Now the problem... Try and find a double sheave pulley, for cable, in Northern Colorado!... I finally gave up on that and did the next best thing... found a pair of singles that use bolts for the sheave 'axles', of the right size, to be replaced with longer, hardened bolts.

That took some doin' as well! But I found 'em... at Harbor Freight! That's a place I tend to shun... their quality isn't always real prime... but in this case they won the day! What I did was took the two singles, took out the sheave bolts and the top bolts... ran longer ones through so the two pulleys are mounted side by side, on the same bolts, creating the Double that I needed.

I hung that when Lily and I got back from our short run to the hills yesterday... and it looks like it's gonna work fine...

While I was tinkering with that, an idea came to me for a safety back-up strap/chain to put in for a second, 'security' layer when I'm bolting the carrier track in place... to work in support of the winch cable and track bolts... just have to work out the details...

...still waiting on the Motorcycle Wheel chock I need to make loading a completely one man deal...

Genuine Cowboy Engineering! Guaranteed to make your mommas cringe! :-)

Made a comment the other day that it might be nice to put a woodstove in the fiver... A reader sent me some pics of the woodstove he mounted in a custom built 'House Truck'... from the couple pics he sent me... it's an awsome lookin' truck... I'm sending him a note askin' permission to post his pics on the site... so Eric... if you're readin' this... check your mail! :-)

Thought I might get rained on yesterday... yup... only it was tryin' to be snow. Heavy, slushy stuff that hit the windshield with a SPLAT! :-) We were up high but, it was still tryin'...

Winter is comin' with a rush and I can't say I'm lookin' forward to it... as much as I talk about not mindin' bad weather... I'd much rather ride on dry... and WARM... pavement!

Heidi called last night all excited...

Her team [3 handlers and 3 dogs] whupped the 'pros'. Her team, every one a Blue Merle Australian Shepherd ... the dogs anyhoo :-) ... beat the Border Collies this time! They're up against a few of the best handlers in the country at this Trial, and on this particular day they beat 'em.

I've told her for a long time that they were gettin' good enough to do just that... That, if they stayed steady, consistent, and GOOD... they'd eventuallly win. All they had to do was keep enough pressure on the Speedster Border Collies to push them into makin' a mistake.

They didn't believe me... until now... 'cause that's exactly what they did... When those Border Collies are 'ON' there ain't no beatin' 'em... but ... they're so fast they screw up a lot... so if you keep your head and stay steady... you can let them other speed demons beat themselves! :-)

You know... that idea works in a lot of other enterprises too!

Time to go make the donuts...

Take Good Care
Brian

October 7, 2008 07:28 - An Old Idea... One More Time...

... From a lil' different angle... considerin' the recent events in the world, it maybe bears repeating.

I've been ruminatin' on the idea that maybe, the Boss has been workin' the idea of usin' me to show other, good folks, that there is a way 'round their difficulties. That my difficulties aren't just bad luck... but maybe an opportunity to do something 'good' in this life.

An opportunity to show that there is always hope, even if, like me, your wallet ain't real thick.

That, just maybe, that thin wallet is a blessing in disguise...

That their dreams are something worthy, that they can achieve.

If... they hang tough.

A goodly number of my readers have sent me comments, speakin' of that idea... so this ain't totally the creation of my own self-centered arrogance. :-)

I'm also thinkin' that, maybe, the obstacle course I've been runnin' for a couple years now, has been erected not only for that purpose... but also, to teach some folks [ME] that they might could use juuuust a mite more humility.

You might not believe it... but a shortage of that has always been a bit of a liability for me.

I've always tended to lean toward thinkin' there was truth in the statement: "I'm just about the smartest and prettiest fella I know!" :-)

Then... that other old idea; 'Pride goeth before a fall', usually comes along... and WHUMP!... I'm pickin' myself up... one more time.

Now, the way I see it, I can't show folks the way... 'less I find the trail myself... First! Which means I've got to go do some wanderin' in unfamiliar territory... leastways, unknown to me...

That's not ever been a real difficult thing for me... Truth is, I truly enjoy just steppin' off into something I've never done before... but I've got to admit, it spooks Heidi just a mite.

While we've rolled a lot of miles boondockin' and yondering... cuttin' loose in the permanent way we've been workin' toward, to go Full-Timing... without all the old 'securities'... is a fairly new trail for us.

... and I'm probably just too dumb to worry a whole lot about what all mite could go wrong! :-)

Though I like to think that I just don't have any time for such doin's... I'll deal with any difficulities the best I can... when they come along... IF ... they come along...

But I refuse to allow myself to be talked into frettin' much about those things that 'might' happen... before they do! Especially considering... that it's likely, they never will!

Those fortunate enough to have the resources, luck, timing, and good sense, to break out of the 'Old Ways', with relative ease... and go off to find their Shining Times...

Have me watching them with glowin' green envy!

But... I don't begrudge them their good fortune... Not one lil' bit.

Fact is... I'll bet the greatest part of 'em, worked hard and earned ever' bit of the good fortune they enjoy, and I wish 'em well. I urge ever'body else to wish the same...

Wastin' any of your time rippin' on somebody, for bein' luckier than you... ain't gonna get your chores done... you'll only be workin', havin' wasted precious energy on that false trail... and now, with less time left... so don't go there!

Sort of a 'Do unto Others' mentality.

Something else I go back to a lot... is a material thing... We all, me included, look at some of those big, five slide, Diesel pushers and wonder about how great it must be to roll around in such a rig...

For a lot of us, that's akin' to a Horse... lookin' up at the squirrels jumpin' around in the trees... and dreamin' of jumpin' around up there with 'em.

If that bugger tries it... climbin' up in there... where he don't belong... and tryin' to jump from one tree to the next... where he just don't fit...

Well sir, usually, it just ain't gonna end up very good for that ol' horse.

I'm not tellin' you to let some air out of your Dream... If it's what you really want, I am not gonna be the fella to knock you for it... just... try to make sure that you do what you can, to make sure...

...that your dreams don't defy the laws of physics! :-)

For me what fits, is pretty much what I've got... minus this house of course! :-) and what it may lack... I can build into it... While gettin' rid of enough other things to make room :-)

The only thing I need do, to my way of thinkin', is try to make sure that what I'm chasin' is not so much what I WANT... as what I NEED.

Where a lot of us get crossed up, yours truly especially included, is that we let ourselves get caught up in that crazy Ol' idea of; "He who dies with the most toys wins"

We end up gettin' crushed by all those toys... and havin' to hoist ourselves out of the hole... we dug ourselves into!

... To make it all worse, we compound our mistake... by tryin' to blame it all on somebody else... Rather than accepting the responsibility for our own faulty judgement and cleanin' up the mess.

"That nasty banker conned me... that used car salesman cheated me... How'd I know I was gonna get laid off?"...

A lot of the 'stuff' goin' on has been self inflicted... nobody made Heidi and I build this house.

Nobody made any of the unfortunate folks who are getting hurt in this 'economy' buy the houses that, let's face it... they simply couldn't afford...

... and tryin' to place blame now, at this late date, just ain't gonna deal with our problems...

What we do have to do... is learn from it all... pick up whatever pieces we've got left... and NOT repeat the same old mistakes... Tomorrow!

Now again... To my way of thinkin'... Wantin' something ain't necessarily a bad thing. A little convenience, a little luxury can be a comforting and worthy thing... but it should be a seasoning on your life... not the whole meal all by itself.

I've fought the 'Big Eye' most of my life... Heck it's the good Ol' American Dream ain't it? So I know how hard it can be to turn away from that... but the more I do turn away, the easier things seem to be for me.

The less I have to worry about... the more I can enjoy what I've got left!

And, the less 'stuff' I have... the easier it seems to be to deal with the bumps that are always gonna come up on any road I roll along.

For those of you like us... with real limited resources... one of the first things I'd advise, as you work toward crackin' out on a New Life... is get Frugal. Build it into a natural, comfortable, automatic part of the way you go.

The less you've got to maintain, with limited resources... the more you'll have to put toward building that New Life...

... and the Dreams that's are gonna come to Life when you finally get to your own Shinin' Times!

Concerning gettin' to those Shining Times...

Don't wait!

Start workin' toward 'em... right... NOW!

No Excuses!

I don't care if you're 18... or 68... The life I've been workin' to get to and preachin' about these past few years is not any sort of retirement.

That's NOT what I'm talkin' about.

The Vision that is the Foundation of my Dream, is pure and simple. It's looking at LIVING, in a whole different way!

It's one where you focus, not on pursuin' a 'career', living as a slave for decades, to provide you a comfortable few years... at the end of the trail...

It's one where your Life, follows a trail, that is decades of Shinin' Times... 'till you travel to the end of your road.

... and now... with a beautiful Sunny fall day in front of me... I'm out to do some more tinkerin' with the improvements on my RV Motorcycle Carrier!

Take Good Care
Brian

October 8, 2008 07:44 - Indian Summer...

It was up around 70 yesterday... as Forrest would say; "Under a Blue Clear Sky". Hard to 'work' on days like that... when you'd rather just be hikin' through some gold colored Aspen Grove up in the High Country, listening to the Elk Bugle!... Supposed to be the same today... with Snow in the forecast! :-)

I was hoping to have moved up to the bigger motorcycle I want by now... so I have a ride with enough alternator to power the electric underwear I want for Winter Riding! :-)

??? Don't know why I was smiling there... winter ain't my favorite time... but the fall may be... and we're gettin' closer to our next circle. [end of October... headin' to the big USDAA National Trial in Scottsdale and then the ASCA show up in Vegas]

I have the Cowboy II motorcycle carrier winch all wired in now... and mostly painted. I only have to complete the painting, rig up some sort of a weather proof 'compartment' to house the control switch... and wait for the wheel chock to arrive... and then, of course, figure out how I'm gonna install it...

Talked to 'em yesterday... they expect it here Thursday or Friday... some minor glitch I guess...

Yesterday, while testing the winch, I decided that there's a mite too much 'Twist' in the track to please me. That track is a fairly heavy 8" channel iron ... from the current lifting point, which is about a foot to starboard... I get quite a little bit of twist in that track...

But... the lift attachment has to be off center like that so that the cable clears the bike... can't really test it much with the bike on... till I get that Wheel chock here and bolted in... so I guess I'll just have to use up some more of my limited resources for patience. :-)

... what the heck... I wasn't born lazy for nothin'! :-)

I've worn out a goodly amount of scratch paper tryin' to scheme up some clever alternative... I've not yet succeeded... emphasis on YET! ... I've got plenty of doodle paper to work with. :-) Total Success is just a matter of time.

I'll be doin' a lil' more experimenting and fine tuning, to reduce/deal with that 'twist' before I can declare the lift/carrier complete; but one way or another, I want it functioning good enough for Slick to go on this coming circle!... as it is, it's better/safer than the handyman lift!

On other subjects... this past summer, during our Utah run there was a gal at the Agility Show from back east somewhere that had a pretty good 'invention' for those who travle with pets... dogs or cats... and I suppose... if you had an Iguana you could put it in there too! If you need or want a safe way to contain the pup or other critter while you're on the road... or maybe even off on a day trip...

...you might want to check out her idea for an RV Kennel.

I don't know if she's got things set up to sell 'retail' yet... bu it struck me as a pretty good idea! and the quality seems pretty good as well.

Lazy or not... I've still got chores to do... so I better get to 'em.

Take Good Care
Brian

October 9, 2008 07:58 - Good News... and

Bad News.... On the Motorcycle Carrier front.

The Good news is that I think I've got the cables oriented, and the cable attachment point on the motorcycle carrier figgered out to work proper... or leastways, good enough.

I found the perfect box to house the control switch. It's an air conditioner disconnect switch box. Got it mounted, in a position so the 'operator' is out of the way, if a cable should fail... and all the wiring bundled, wrapped and secured...

and then... came the bad news...

In testing and dinkin' around with things yesterday, I found two things... One; though I've now dealt, I think!, with the twist in the track... I found there to be a bit of flex in the pulley tower... which was kind of unexpected... considerin' it's built out of the same type of tubing that hitches are...

'Inventin' seems to be a lot like pushin' a rope... you aim it one way and off it goes in another! Oh well... a bit more welding to add a brace in there to stop that... no big problem...

Second bit of 'bad' news; I'm going to have to abandon the idea of ridin' the scooter onto the carrier under power... I'm sure the biker lives, who could do such a thing... However... that fella... or fellerette, ain't this Ol' dodger! :-) as things turned out, it's all just too tight, too steep and too 'spooky' for ME to do that ridin' :-)

There is still good news in there though. I did have the good sense to set the winch in a position, and hook the pulleys up with hooks, so one pulley can be moved, quick and easy, to pull the bike up using the winch... [ I think I may have had the idea that ridin' it up wasn't gonna work, in the back of my lil' bitty mind!]

All I'll need there is a nylon strap to hook the winch cable to the Motorcycle and I can pull it up slow an' easy... no more of the two of us backin' away from the ramp, for a head start, hollerin'; One! Two! Three! GO! ... and then tryin' to center the bike on the ramp, jump over the tie down outrigger and push at the same time... while gettin' too dang old to push hard enough... to knock an old lady off a bar stool! :-)

So now, one more task.. I've got to find, or build, a remote control switch to operate the winch from the bike... with such a switch, I could still load the scooter... and unload slowly, all by my lonesome... till then, it will still take both of us... me to steer Slick into the track and chock... and Heidi to twist the Winch Switch...

But even that-a-way... it's a vast improvement over the duckin' an' runnin' we've been doin... and soilin' my shorts when that dang Handyman lets go! :-)

Hope they still have gasoline when I get this thing figgered out! :-)

... and then the last bit of 'Good' news... the talkin' head on the boob tube news last night said Colorado is doin' considerable better than the rest of the country. Foreclosures are down significantly [in Colorado] and house sales, for September, were up 15% Over last year in Colorado... so maybe... things are stabilizin' here a mite... welcome news if it holds...

I'm takin' another break from 'Inventing' today... Heidi is takin' a break from Bead Sellin'... and we're headin' for the hills for a lil' day trip... figures TODAY would be overcast :-) ... guess you gotta have cloudy days to put the sunny ones in perspective...

Take Good Care
Brian

October 10, 2008 07:04 - Fall in the Rockies...

... is one of those times that kind of supports the; "Don't like the weather? Wait a few minutes... it'll change!".

We threw the dogs in the truck yesterday morning and headed west for Red Feather. One of Heidi's "Agility Friends" lives up there. Their place sits on the National Forest fence, so it's a nice place to take a long walk, undisturbed... don't know that it qualifies as a hike... but we were out for 3 or 4 hours!

Along the way Heidi gave her a call, to let her know we was a comin'... and was told: It's a blue, clear sky here and up in the forties... I went outside with a sweat shirt on and was roasting!" ...

She was gettin' that story as we rolled along under heavy, low overcast and light fog... watchin' the trucks thermometer go from 40... to 38 ... to 37... till Heidi made the comment; "I wonder what kind of drugs it is that Nancy is usin'?"

Then... Just east of Red Feather, like movin' through a doorway... out from under a roof... we drove from beneath those clouds to runnin' under a Blue, Clear, Sky! and the thermometer reversed it's decent and went right back to where, if you were walkin' in the sun... you was a roastin'! :-)

You gotta love the mountains... I do love the idea... ' If you don't like where you're at... go west!' ... 'Goin' West' to me is 'Goin' to the Mountains!'

Heidi's 'Agility Friend's' house sits, like I said... along the fenceline that separates private from National Forest land... If we ever decide, once we get free of the place we're at... to build or buy a 'home base'... I'm hopin' we can find a place just like what Nancy and Spook have here...

There's cabins behind 'em... but their place sits right on the perimeter of the developed area... so their view into the forest is unobstructed... and hikin' trails right out the front door! Sweet!

Nancy's House in Red Feather

You can just see the peak of the porch on the left side here... the rest is the view out their front windows... and from the porch... a rough place to live ain't it? Reminds me of our home on the ranch ... there are times I miss the place...

On such a beautiful day Nancy decided to be our guide... for her second walk/hike of the day... so after a tour of her house [I hadn't been there before... just Heidi] we took off into the woods through the gold aspens under a brilliant blue sky... a gorgeous day! I love the mountains!

Hiking in Red Feather Colorado

I guess the 'peak' for color was last week... but I won't grouse... any day in the mountains is Shinin' Times to me. The sound of the wind in the pines... the smell of the Aspens... the far views... I don't know how anyone can survive, livin' in town... with out ever goin' to the mountains. That seems like livin' in a box to me.

We climbed up over a big, rocky ridge to a place where you could see forever...

Far View in Red Feather

Can you see that thin, grey, line of cloud on the horizon? That's the 'roof' of clouds we'd driven out from under... like goin' through a doorway.

After we enjoyed the view from that rocky ridge for a while; I could sit in such a place for hours... just soakin' up the solitude and Freedom of the place... Nancy led down off the top... to drop into the Aspen filled canyon below.

A rocky ridge in Red Feather


canyon view near Red Feather


view near Red Feather

Lily and Buck, along with their mountain buddy Tango [The Black Lab] love walkin' in the hills... un-restricted by some dang leash, they can run and explore... and cliimb the rocks and boulders all around us as we walk...

Lily and Buck on Red Feather rocks

The only problem is... down in those drainages, in the fall, the bottoms sometimes get a bit muddy... both Lily and Buck jumped onto nice flat spots that looked like Aspen leaf covered 'flat spots'... only those 'flat spots' were Aspen leaf covered mud holes! :-) Good thing we were still quite a ways out... to give 'em time to dry off... before we had to climb back in the truck.

But even better... Heidi and I split off with the dogs... while Nancy had to head back to the house to meet her plumber...

We split off to circle over by Dowdy Lake... So at least Buck could get a swim in... and hopefully, wash some of his gathered mud off.

banks of Dowdy Lake


Buck swimming in Dowdy Lake

Lily won't swim... doesn't interest her prissy lil' self in the least! :-) ... but only one muddy dog in the truck is better than two... right?

As always... all good things have an end... so we had to head back, climb in the truck and come back... but not before a late lunch at the High Country Restraunt in Red Feather... Dal and Rae's place... a quiet, comfortable, laid-back kind of a country cafe...

Oh yeah... the Wheel Doc chock for my motorcycle carrier arrived first thing yesterday morning, on our way to Red Feather... so, today, I'll spend a good bunch of it... lookin' and schemin' how I'll bolt that piece into my growin' Cowboy II motorcycle carrier! :-)

Lots to do... like always... so I better get to it...

Take Good Care
Brian

October 14, 2008 07:06 - It's a Wild Ride!

The 'market' has been a lil' bit of excitement lately ain't it? ... Not for me... I found out, a lot of years ago that I didn't have the personality for that thing... I stuck to 'safe' ways to go up and down real fast...

... Like Buckin' Horses!

Way back shortly after we got married, Heidi was a genuine corporate executive... a manager responsible for 52 stores in five states... She was somethin' in those 'Business Lady' Power Suits! :-)

She had those stock options and all... we made... and spent... quite a bit of money... pppphhhhhhttttttt !!! :-) ... Then I talked her into doin' the 'smart' thing, by improvin' our lives and goin' back to the poverty of a ranch! :-)

Sometimes it makes sense... sometimes it don't! It's probably for the best in the long run... I never got along very well with money anyway. It never stayed around long enough to develop any sort of a relationship!

So here we are... near thirty years later... Long way from rich... but groceries in the cupboard, the cupboard under a roof, propane in the tank... a lil' bit of diesel in the other tank... and a couple of decent shirts... what more does a fella need?

A couple Friends of ours, a lot more 'flush' than we are.. (they have money in the bank) really got pummeled last week... I suppose, considerin' how the 'value' of this house has sunk the past two years... I've got an idea of how they're feelin'

but...

I may not have any money... but then I don't have to worry 'bout losin' it neither! ... there are trade offs... a fella just has to decide what's the greater value to him... for me Freedom is the drivin' force... not dollars... but ... it's sometimes hard to follow that ... when there's 'other' folks involved... I may be fine with livin' in a tent, sleepin' on the ground and eatin' rabbit...

I expect, that life just might not fit that female person in the other room... ! :-) marriage is like politics sometimes ain't it? ... lots and lots of compromise!

That's OK... I'm gettin' too old an' stove up to spend too awful much time... sleepin' on the ground anymore... anyway!

I've got some more bits and pieces to do what I hope is most of the final 'evolving' of my Cowboy II motorcycle carrier over the next couple of days... Been cold and wet here for a couple days... had our first killin' freeze... snow off to the west... but today, and the next few are supposed to be some more of those shiny fall days like we had up in Red Feather last week...

Todays' project involves notchin' the track the motorcycle sits in to make room to allow me to bolt the 'Wheel Doc', wheel chock in place... then I've got to bolt some supporting angle iron under the track to re-enforce where I notch out the sides... also have to remove the old 'stop' at the end and prepare it to be welded back in place to support the front end of the new Wheel Doc...

Also, I'm cutting off the old tie down points... moving the rear tie down forward a bit... and bolting it in place this time... the front one is replaced by tie down points built into the new chock...

Creating or finding a hand held 'remote control' is likely going to have to wait until after this next circle we're makin' ... unless of course... I happen to find one along the way! :-)

Keep your chin up... scrapin' holes in your hide, from draggin' it, ain't gonna help your wallet any!

Take Good Care
Brian

October 15, 2008 04:54 - Sparks and Smoke!

... Good thing I was expectin' 'em!

But it's still a good thing to be ready for iffn they run wild... you best be prepared with water or an extinguisher to shut it down, if those sparks manage to swell up into full grown flames!

I've heard that if you're gonna build an omlet ... you gotta break some eggs. I suppose the same holds true for RV modifications... and building RV Motorcycle Carriers.

To get the new Wheel Dock wheel chock put in place... several parts of the old layout have to get gone! A not so difficult task with a Dewalt angle grinder and a few cutoff wheels! ... I'd suggest you make sure that what you're about to cut off... is something you really want to cut off! It's kind of a pain, to have to burn that sucker back on... :-)

I'm pretty sure that some of these gotta go!... The grey colored 'stop' on the end (I didn't paint it last week... since I was knowin' it was leavin') and the tie down outrigger right there by it...

Before cutting off old motorcycle carrier parts

Doing the cutting is pretty simple... just hit the trigger... rub the spinnin' blade up against the parts you don't want any more... and after a bunch of smoke, sparks and a wailin' racket... they fall off! :-)

The only problem was... I don't have any prescription safety glasses... so... I kinda had to guess at what I was cuttin' off :-) ... It looked like the parts I was wantin' to cut on. :-)


cutting off the first motorcycle carrier tie down


cutting off motorcycle carrier parts

Yup... It's a bit easier with some of it... if you pull the pin and set the track down on the ground. Helps keep you from cutting into things... that don't need to be cut in to... 'specially when the details you're seein' are a mite fuzzy! :-)

... If you look reeeeaaaal close... by my right knee in that second pic... you can see some blue electrical tape... was just firin' the grinder up for the first cut... and that dang wire flopped right into the blade... zzzzzzthwap!... so before I could even start workin'... I had to repair the new grinder...

I told you there was sparks an' smoke! :-)

Once I got that stuff shaved, I set ever'thing back in place so I could figure out where the track had to be notched so the chock will fit down in proper...

Wheel Dock chock marking to cut track

You can get a look at the new Wheel Dock Motorcycle chock here too... the cylinder on the side holds the 'shoe' that's sticking up, against the wheel with pretty good force... enough to put a lil' dent in the tire... so I'm confident it will hold the motorcycle in place, when the ramp is down... while I strap the bike down for haulin'.

And this is what it looks like right now, with all the bits cut off...

Motorcycle carrier modification

With the sides cut out, to make room for the Wheel Dock... that track is real 'bouncy'... and needs some re-enforcement put in underneath to restore the rigidity... as well as getting the 'stop' that was cut off... added back on to extend the track a bit to support the end of the new chock...

I've also got to drill and bolt the 'new', rear tie down in place. It fits in under the footboards... I'll bolt it this time... 'till I know that it's going to stay where I think it is... then we can weld it up.

but...

Now all the work comes to a screechin' halt for a few days... Of the two welders I've got these days... one is in South Dakota... the other is headin' for Texas to go pig huntin'... so the welding will wait 'till next Tuesday... I'm prayin' for no 'Western Weather'!

Gonna be a bit tight... we're leavin' the followin' Sunday evening... not much room for 're-scheduling'...

At the end of the day we had a nice, soft fall sunset... it had the mountains silhouetted in that mistly purple haze that always seems to aggravate my hitch itch...

purple mountains

Hmmm.... wouldn't that picture be an awsome mural down the side of a rig? ... Bet that would cost a pretty penny! :-) too bad all mine are ugly!

Take Good Care
Brian


October 18, 2008 05:26 - The usual rambling banter...

Is your neck as stove up as mine?... Trouble twistin' 'round to see your hitch when you hook up?... or can't see the hitch anyway... 'cause of all the 'stuff' behind the cab? ... or it's a gooseneck conversion like mine?...

I came up with a handy dandy Hitching Guide a few weeks ago... on the Cheap!

The quick and easy lil' Hitching Guide I Cowboy engineered for my rig... lets me hook up ... the hitch... not myself :-) sittin' comfortable and using the rear view mirror instead of all the old gymnastics of trying to see the hitch and still hang on to the controls of the truck.

Give my handy lil' Hitching Guide a look-see if you could use such a thing your self.

... and... I made some additions in the bookstore... ebooks! Have a few more to get added in... and I'm planning on converting those lil' tomes I wrote to ebooks as well... also waiting on access (apporoval) to some more stuff (audio books!) to improve it a mite more...

Heidi and I started using some of those a year or so ago... they're pretty cool... on long runs... gettin' from here to there... not sightseeing... they sure seem to keep my head workin' and awake... leastways if the 'reader' don't put you to sleep! :-) ... as always... lots to do...

But on to Important things!... It just ain't right! ... I'm the Gypsy in this family... and here I sit!... While Heidi and Buck are off to another Trial down in Albuquerque... and I have to spend the weekend clerkin' at the Ranch Store... selling bolts and corral panels... Boo Hoo...

I will be gettin' a 'road fix', startin' the evening of Sunday the 26th though... we head for Scottsdale... Vegas... and points in between... With any luck... I'll get that motorcycle carrier buttoned up Tuesday night so it will be ready to load Slick.... be a sorry thing to have to leave him home 'cause I cut his seat all apart! :-)

Talkin' to Heidi last night... she reported that diesel was under $3.30 a gallon on the indian reservation just north of Albuquerque... ain't it curious that we now consider $3.30 a gallon to be a steal? :-) ... I remember when gas went from .25 cents to .50 and ever'body thought the world would surely collapse!

Turns out... it really didin't matter much... most of that junk don't... and we spend way to much time worryin' it over... I'd guess that if we could polish up our ability to 'tag' things some way... with a -'can't do any damn thing about it' - tag ... it would allow us to just forget about those things and get on to what we can change... hmmm... seems like I remember an old prayer to that affect...

... "give me the strength to accept what I can't change... the courage to change what I can... and the wisdom to know the difference."... or some such...

I keep workin' on shinin' up my abilities in such things... but my progress is a mite spotty! :-) ... turns out... I make some people mad when I make a joke about 'em "tilting at windmills"... can't please 'em all I guess.

Better get ready to head for town... gotta keep that boss pleased... for a while anyhoo.

Take Good Care
Brian


October 21, 2008 15:27 - Kind of low on energy... and events to ramble about.

Sittin' here waitin' on a welder, that should be comin' over this afternoon about 4:30, to put together all the pieces and parts I've prepared, for the motorcycle carrier.

Don't know if the weather is gonna co-operate though. There's a minor lil' storm workin' it's way through today... That won't matter a whole lot... There's only a couple of brace tubes he needs to weld on outside... that'll be quick...

Then...

If the weather cuts loose it shouldn't matter... the rest will be done inside the shop... I've got ever'thing set up so all he needs do is back up to the shop... burn 'em together and roll on home! ... It's one benefit of still bein' here... I have the shop building we can work in... most all my tools are gone... but the shop still remains!

If this real estate thing don't get done pretty quick... I just may have to resurrect that shop some... as long as it's there, I might as well put it to use... maybe buildin' fancy, wacky , unique RVs! :-)

It's lookin' like it might be a horse race for us gettin' out of Colorado at the end of the week as well... storms seem to be stacked up in the usual fall/winter train... Keepin' my fingers crossed for reasonable weather to get over Raton Pass Monday morning, next week.

I get over that mountain and it's roll on Big Mama... southbound and truckin'!

Workin' on my latest evolution of tool carriers for my leather tools... I keep trying to get things more compact... and more functional... I think I've worked out a layout that would work for most folks... easier to create... and could with a mite of tinkerin' be adjusted for a lot of different 'camp crafts' as well.

Once I get it all done up there'll be a new page all about it! ... surprised ain't ya? :-)

But, Nuff yackin' ... if I'm goin' to get it done... I better get back to it while I'm waitin'.

Take Good Care
Brian

October 22, 2008 07:21 - One more item on my list has a check mark!

James (The Welder) had a little problem, so he was a touch late... life in the west!... but then we got to work and had it (my Cowboy II Motorcycle Carrier) all burned back together in a couple hours... most folks call it welding... unless I'm the welder... then it's best called burning! :-) ... So I guess I should say, he had it welded back together!

Just gotta re-assemble it all on the rig.

Gonna be chilly today... but hopin' it will warm up enough to get some paint on it... then it's drag it back out to the Eagle and put it all back in place... bolts, wires, yadda yadda yadda... but it's lookin' good!...

I've thought such things before... only to wake up in a western jackpot! :-) ... so only time will tell.

Lots to get done 'fore we pull out Sunday... That Big Red Tow vehicle needs a service... the solar system battery bank needs maintenance, load water... food and clothes put in place... cell phone amplifier put back in the rig... all the usual odds and ends... but then it's the RV Boondocking road baby! Sweet! ... :-)

Doin' all these chores I've had plenty of time to think... always a dangerous deal... but I may have come up with an energy solution for the country... all we need do is figure out a way to plumb all these 'politicians' together...into one large 'pool'... and we'd have enough 'gas' to make us energy independent in days! :-) ...

Enough to last for decades too!

We'd save money to boot! ... 'cause it would be cheaper gas... what with no need to add the 'odor' they have to put in the petroleum based stuff so you can smell it! ... this 'gas' ... SMELLS... all by itself! :-)

Won't you be glad when things get back to normal... and all you hear is some corp. tryin' to sell you their cheap junk that you don't need? :-)

I almost pray for a salesman to come along an' try to snooker me... just to drown out the 'rest of the story'... :-)

Well, the sun's up... after our lil' storm yesterday... rain here... and some of the 'solid rain' up higher...

Rocky Mountain Sunrise

...the temperature's risin'... a bit... so I'm gonna go get ready to start paintin'... as soon as it's warm enough.

Take Good Care
Brian

October 24, 2008 07:29 - Lookin' Good for The Eagle to lift off on Sunday.

It looks like there'll be a decent hole in the weather... and by the time it might close up again, we'll be rollin' south and far enough along so I don't think it can catch me. They got white stuff west of us in this little bit that came through in the past week... and almost blizzard conditions, I heard, over east... it was just cold and WINDY here... and that's the deal... the rest is easy... it's the WIND that creates the difficulties.

I think I'd rather have it rainin' or snowin' when we're on the road... then blowin'!

Got SLick loaded with the new 'system' yesterday afternoon... hmmm... not as smooth as I might have liked... turns out a couple more things to 'tinker' with when I get the time...

The winch cables have a conflict with the right side foot peg... about a 1/2 inch... gonna have to deal with that...

It took a little bit to find the spot to attach the winch to the bike, to pull it up the ramp... to high, or to far forward and it either pulls the bike too hard to the side... or I run out of cable... but we found the spot... so I think that'll be fine...

The last, unexpected thing was side to side wobble with the bike tied down...

On the 'old' system... two tie downs were on the fixed frame... the new... it was all on the ramp itself... NOT a good move... So I say WAS... because I had to move back to those two 'old' tie down points to stabilize the bike... not a real big deal....

Otherwise... I think it'll work... actually with a couple of the changes... and a little experience... I'm pretty sure it'll end up a better outfit. I guess thinkin' it was gonna be an 'easy' invention was my mistake :-) I shoulda known... when have I ever done anything the 'easy' way?

Spent a while last night on what has become a pre-trip routine... Maps spread out all over the counter... lookin' at which-a-way we might could go!

Between Scottsdale and the trial in Vegas... we're expectin' to go up around the Grand Canyon... weather there, this time of year can be either soft and gorgeous... or western bitter... I'm keepin' my fingers crossed for soft an' gorgeous!

There's one camp in Grand Canyon Village that would be convenient... all the Forest Service Camps are already shut down, from what I can see... It's been 15 years or better since I rolled through there... I remember some Forest Roads south of Tusayan that used to offer some good straight up Boondocking opportunities...

So there's plenty of choices... we'll make ours on the spot!

After Vegas... if our winnings aren't so great that they force us to stay on the interstate :-) we're hopin' again, for good weather, to allow us to cut up across Southern Utah and drop by Zion and maybe one or two of the other 'Canyon Parks'... That's far enough away, at this time of year, that which-a-way we go then is going to have to wait to be made at the time as well...

Is it just me? or is everybody in a really mucky funk? I can't blame a soul... 'cept maybe them gas passin' sleazeballs runnin' 'campaigns'... and of course the 'experts' runnin' the economy... who ain't so 'expert' after all!

So... what's there to do 'bout it? ... Hmmmm... since there's not one chip of a piece of a thing we can do about any of it... hunt up a belly laugher of a joke... and tell it to six people today... Turn our backs on the 'junk' and find a way to enjoy this journey... but it takes 'work'... so get to to 'work'! ... here's my contribution... :-)

.... this wiry, stooped, wrinkled, helmeted old man pulls up to a red light on his moped... when he looks over he's sittin' next to a low, sleek, race car lookin' lamborghini.

He comments through the open window to the driver... "Nice Car!"

"Yes it is" replies the owner.... "Besides costing $500,000, this car will go 320 miles per hour!"

The old man asks if the owner would mind him taking a look at it. The owner, proud of his fancy machine says "Sure!", so the old man climbs off his moped, leans down to stick his head through the window of the low slung road burner, and takes in the leather seats, the burl wood dash, the stylish gauges and all...

... then looks at the driver and says: "It's an awful nice car... but I'll keep my moped!" With that he turns and climbs back on his moped.

The Lamborghini driver is a bit offended! "How could anyone choose a moped over THIS car?!"

When the light changes, he puts his foot on the floor and takes that car to 120mph in about 8 seconds!... "Guess I showed that fool!" he thinks to himself... He eases off the throttle as he looks in the rear view mirror... only to see that lil' moped catchin' up in a rushin' hurry!

WOOOSH! that Old man on his lil' red moped goes flyin' past in a blink!

"What the hell?" the car driver can't believe it... he's never seen a moped go that fast... well .... he puts his foot down again... and takes that road burner to 220 mph, and of course quickly catches and passes that racing moped!

"HA!" he shouts... "Whooped him again!"... but when he looks back in the mirror... here comes that moped... AGAIN!

WOOSHHHH! It flys past that $500,000 machine at an amazing speed!

"This can't be!" cries the owner of the fabulous car... "I can't be outrun by an old man on a MOPED!"

One last time he puts his foot on the floor... that already screaming engine takes him to speeds he's never seen before. He tops it out at it's maximum rated speed of 320 mph! That's all there is!

But once again... when he looks into his rear view mirror... here comes that lil' red moped! Catching up again!... and quickly!

Closer!.... Closer!... Closer!.... until.... CRRRRRRAAAAAAASHHHHH!

This time the moped Slams into the rear end of the Lamborghini at over 320 mph!

The driver jumps on his brakes... slows the car down and pulls to the side of the road in a panic! Jumping out, he races to the rear of his car to find the old man... mangled and bleeding... crushed into the end of the car... but still ALIVE!

"Oh My God!" He cries... "What happened? How are you still Alive?"

The old man looks up at him with his one, remaining, good eye and says in a weak voice... "Could you go get help?... but before you leave... please pull my suspenders ... off your ... rear view mirror!"

:-)
So ... don't let all this crap weigh you down... do yourself a favor... find a way to have a good laugh.

Take Good Care
Brian

October 26, 2008 06:23 - It's Gonna be a long day today...

I'll put in a day at the hardware store... then trot on home... do the last minute lil' things we've not got done yet and then shake, rattle, and roll south for a few hours.

Not exactly the way to 'take it slow'... but I ALWAYS have an irresistable urge to - get on the road and get goin' - unwilling to wait until the morning... when we're startin' a fresh trip.

My goal for tonight is Trinidad... somewhere around 270 miles south of here... takes something over 4 hours... there are a couple spots we can brush up before then... but that's our usual goal for the 'first night' on this run. But, it makes for a day better handled by some 19 year old rooster... not some dented up ol' featherless buster. :-)

I like to get there though, 'cuz it sets up for a nice morning, crossing over Raton Pass and into New Mexico...

We haven't decided yet, which-a-way we'll go, from Albuquerque, to get to Scottsdale... Last year makin' this same run, we rolled across I-40 and dropped off somewhere around Sanders... We're kinda thinkin' we might try something different this time around... what's the use of wanderin' ... if you follow the same trail all the time?...

As always... we'll know which way we went... when we can look back and see how we got where we are! :-)

Rig is mostly all loaded and ready... 1/3 of a tank of water... most our groceries, Slick... just about only have to tell the pups to climb in... fire up that Cummins and go...

And good timing too... I'm in strong need of the peace the road gives me... hard thing for a Gypsy to have his foot nailed to the ground!

More chores to get tended to this morning, 'fore I head off to the 'daily grind'... I'll be sure to let you know where we ended up... soon as I find out my own self!

Take Good Care
Brian

October 27, 2008 19:33 - Workin' Our Way South.

We got out, 'bout on time Sunday evening... Hit the pavement at the end of the driveway at 8:00 pm for a night run, to get a head start on this circle.

We'd had this 'send off' sunrise Sunday Morning...

Nunn Sunrise

I'd been shootin' for the rest area just north of Trinidad... but I missed my shot. There's another'n some 61 miles short of there, at Colorado City. I decided my steam was runnin' low so we pulled in there... but bummer... truckers had all the slots plugged up...

There's a Shamrock fillin' station, across the highway from the rest area... and I swung in there to capture a fresh cup of coffee, figurin' to go ahead and roll on down to the Trinidad place... which is some bigger....

... as we were pullin' out to get back on the Interstate, Heidi thought she spied a trucker takin' his leave of the rest area... so we made another swing through and sure enough there was a good spot for us along the grass on the north end... which granted a welcome rest!

I'd thought it was to be a long day... and it was! :-)

It's a fairly busy rest area...but still gave us a fairly restful night. There were a couple trucks keepin' their drivers warm... but truly... it was pretty soft... kind of a 'white noise' for a gypsy like me... unlike when the neighbors kids are playin' their head bangin' 'music' at 105 decibels! :-(

Gettin' up this morning... fairly late (7:30)... I got my coffee at the Shamrock again... (too lazy to fire up our own coffee maker) ... and we wanted to get rollin'... and continued south... just before Walsenburg we decided to abandon the Interstate and instead followed U.S. 160 west over La Veta pass, instead of climbing Raton.

Then... cut south again at Ft. Garland on Colorado 159.... which took us down through San Luis, Questa, Arroyo Hondo and Taos.

This would be a great place to spend some time if you've never been here before... lots of little shops and galleries... historic old places... and awful pretty country to find it all in... One we've dawdled in before, and intend to come back to. I'd have preferred to hang around some this trip... but we've a schedule to meet! and dogs to compete in Scottsdale... so we just had to keep movin'.

CO 159 becomes NM 522 and eventually leads a fella back to the Interstate at Santa Fe... Dang! You just can't never get rid of that dang thing!

Ha! But I got it out smarted... When it weren't lookin' ... I cut the wheel hard at Socorro and ran west again on U.S. 60! I was off and down the two lane 6 miles 'fore that danged I-25 ever new I was gone!

We'd fueled at exit 259 just a ways north of Albuquerque on the Indian Reservation... generally the cheapest fuel around... and today it was the first diesel I've bought in I can't have no idea how long, that was under $3... how about $2.99? ... Sweet!

Then shake rattle an' roll to get down the road some more.

In case you were worried if they're still listening for ET... the machinery is all still there. That VLA setup was workin' as we came up on it... Last February when I rolled through here I was racin' a snowstorm... and losin' the race...

VLA system in New Mexico

Today... nuthin' but blue sky!... ET Call Home!... and make sure you're not on 'ROAMING'! :-) Geez! Can you imagine the bill for that? Talk about long distance!

We were thinkin', and our cogitatin' proved out true... we weren't gonna make our favorite lil' 'Heber camp' today... just too far... especially considering that we took the shorter (miles) but slower two lane route through Colorado and New Mexico...

But... I knew about another decent lil' spot for a 'Road Camp'... Just west of Red Hill... between there and the Arizona border...

There's a lil' road side rest area on the south side of the highway... it's got some sun shades and trash cans... nuthin' special... but you can get off the road a good ways and pull back into the Junipers a mite... for just an overnight road camp... not to shabby...

road camp, rest area, night camp

Pasta and veggies for supper... catch kind of a quiet sunset lookin' west into Arizona...

 Quiet Arizona Sunset

Write for a bit... and then it's time for bed under a New Mexico sky brim full of freedom and stars!

... you may have noticed... that although this post is dated 10/27... it didn't get posted till the 28th....

Though there was 'some' signal at our 'Red Hill' road camp... it was intermittent and weak... I still haven't got my 'permanent' antenae mounted... what with using the amp in the house and all... boo hoo... poor Ol' Buster!

I couldn't get online... so uploading it had to wait... but that's the nice thing 'bout this 'system'... I can go ahead and write the posts... and just get 'em uploaded whenever I'm able...

But for now... time for that bed I mentioned...

Take Good Care
Brian

October 28, 2008 17:39 - The Eagle landed in Scottsdale

We got settled in our dirt lot home for the week, late Tuesday afternoon. It's warm down here in the desert! I guess you've got to have hot places with too dang many people... to make the Far Country in the Cool Mountains shine so bright, huh?

948 miles at an average of 14.7 mpg. not too bad... though... I could still be up on the Mogollon Rim... I much prefer it to this Phoenix Valley...

Got Slick down... with not too much 'difficulty' (learning the new 'system')... and the air conditioner cranked up!... I swear... in the 7 years we've had this particular rig... I think right here is about the only time we've used the air... and that... way down in the fall!... Up 'Home' ... the heaters are roarin'! :-)

What a differrence 1000 miles makes, huh?

Yesterday mornin' started out with Slick gettin' a bath... and a little armor all on his leather. Then we found some air for his tires and fuel for his tank before rollin' north toward Carefree and Cave Creek.

I wanted to scope out Bartlett Reservoir...

But first... somewhere in there, we found this trips 'forgotten item'... you know... that one thing... You NEED... that ALWAYS gets left behind when you pull out... no matter how many lists, double checks and brain wrenchin' you do to NOT forget anything?

This time, it was the bag of misc. cables for camera and laptop... The critical one I needed... and had to replace, was the charger for the Nikon... OOPS! ... a forty some dollar OOPS! :-) Ah well... now I have a backup!... guess I'll put it in the glove box when I recover the 'other' one... which I'm guessin' I'll find sittin' by the door when we get back!

So... if you're feelin' a little grumpy from such doins ... a morning ride through the Arizona desert... in the fall!... on a freshly shined up motorcycle... or an equally shiny horse will go a long way toward straightening out the kinks.

The road from Scottsdale to the Carefree/Cave Creek area is nothin' special... but when you make the turn east, toward Bartlett Reservoir... you get into some really pretty desert hills and some fine twisties! ... just enough to tease you into goin' quicker than you should... until that lil' voice in the back of your nearly empty head whispers... "Slow down Parnelli... somebody's watchin!"

... and you lean around a bend... and there's Deputy Dawg... raisin' some more revenue for them politicians to squander on some new office furniture!

There's a few campgrounds scattered around Bartlett... Tonto National Forest used to have a long term camp program for the winter at a few of them... either around Bartlett Reservoir or over to Roosevelt Lake... I checked their site... and couldn't find mention of it now... if your lookin' for something up out of the Quartzite confusion... you might give it a look see.

At the least you can use one of their developed campgrounds for 14 days at a time... and if you can find a fella in a Smoky Bear hat to talk to... maybe they can tell you if that long term program is still active...

I passed the marina and followed a rough, washboardy road for about three miles toward the Riverside campground and found the dam that holds back the waters of Bartlett Reservoir...

Bartlett Resrvoir Dam

The campground is just around the bend... about a 1/4 mile or so... If you're thinkin' of using this camp... I'd suggest rollin' in with your toad or tow vehicle first... It's a little steep and rough... you'll need to decide for yourself, if you want to haul in there...

If on the other hand... you prefer the water... and maybe you're haulin' a boat along with you to take advantage of it... Hmmm... not a bad idea! :-)... it was pretty apparent that you could reeeeaaalllly do just that here...

I'd guess these RV Boondockers couldn't do any better for Boondocking Boaters!

RV Boondocking on Bartlett Reservoir

and right.... about.... NOW... is where I exhausted the camera battery! :-( .... DOH! ... so no more pics till I get back to the rig and plug in the new charger... sheesh!

Well... except for this one from just before the battery died...

Bartlett Reservoir view

These lakes up here, NE of the Phoenix valley, are more crowded than a Wal Mart parking lot on payday... in the summer! ... but this time of year... they're usually a pretty relaxed place... I'd sure give 'em a look for a nice camp... I may have to think about a boat myself!...

Hmmmm..... I wonder if you could use a motorcycle to power a stern wheeler? ... :-)

Had to get back to the valley... in time to make supper with the in-laws... but it sure was nice to lean Slick through the twisties up in those desert mountains... in my shirt sleeves... in late October! :-)

Yup... Snowbirds.... are the SMART birds!

Take Good Care
Brian

October 31, 2008 07:23 - Dumber and Dumber...

Don't ever unload your rig... not to clean it... not to repair it... not for any reason!

It only ends up in disaster!... you forget computer cables... tools... bits and pieces of dang near ever'thing... somehow they just don't seem to find their way back without difficulty first!

Most of it you can do without... but I'm here to tell you... when you pull that lil' Coleman grill out... and set about hookin' it up to BBQ those steaks up... and your mouth is waterin' in anticipation... Juicy BBQ Steak and a cool beer...

... you're gonna be one cranky son of a biscuit... when you come to realize that SOMEHOW... the regulator assembly got separated from the grill, and got left behind somewhere that it shouldn't!

AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH! ... and since they don't seem to sell replacements anywhere... that's gonna have to wait till we get back... which makes cookin' in camp this comin' week an issue... I guess that solar system and the George Foreman Grill are lookin' at a genuine test! :-)

So... DON'T UNLOAD! ... Cleanin' house is just a heartache waitin' to ambush you! :-)

But... before that lil' fiasco... Heidi and Buck were runnin' their Agility Courses in the Desert Sun...

They set some tough courses at these United States Dog Agility Association National Shows... Lots of traps and places for confusion... A lot of people (and their Dogs) were goin' 'off course' ... the top runners were goofin' on the job! :-) ... and it don't take much ... Buck took the wrong side of a jump which kept him from a clean run... too bad too... 'cause he was runnin' well...

... I haven't seen Heidi run that quick in a long time either... not since she chased me down... If I'd only been a Lil' bit quicker...

Heidi and Buck USDAA Nationals '08

Between Family rollin' by in the afternoon and feelin' kind of stove up to begin with, I didn't do much else most of the day but sit in the cool of the Air conditioned Eagle, with Lily, ... and write.

Today... I've got all sorts of chores stacked up... what with showers ever day down here, from runnin' agility in the Desert Sun... and not bein' on a sewer hookup... I've got to hitch up and haul the rig over to get 'er dumped... I really need to get that macerator system installed...

There are times when procrastination is a good thing... I'll admit though... most times when I'm draggin' my feet... it's either 'cause I'm lackin' ambition... or just plain lazy! :-)

Two and a half more days of Agility Competition and then we'll head a ways north lookin' for a boondock camp, most likely up on the Coconino National Forest...

... and we'll find out... just how much power that George Foreman Grill uses! :-)

Remember... a messy house... means you probably still have all your 'parts' with you! :-)

Take Good Care
Brian

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