RV Boondocking the Good Life

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February 1, 2007 12:34 - On The Road Again!

We made it out Tuesday morning .... So far this trip is proving to be a reaffirmation of everything I have learned about RV Boondocking and everything I've been saying about it.

Too many miles, in too short a time, too fast, too hard.... and then .... setting up, basically, in an RV Park, awning to slide! Rush rush rush .... yuck, yuck, yuck!

This trip, we had no choice. Our travel window was narrowed up by circumstances we couldn't change. But I'll take what I can get anyway!

Heidi needed to be in a spot fairly convenient to the Bead Shows. That pretty much eliminated my preferrance for getting back of beyond somewhere .... So, we're staying at the Pima County fairgrounds. Quiet, but crowded parking. Fact is, if the little pull behind sitting beside us wanted to open his awning .... he'd only get it about half way!

But we're here safe and sound! Slick made his first trip on the new motorcycle carrier in fine shape. One little goof on my part .... Seems I tightened the tie down straps a touch to strongly .... the forks stuck compressed for a second when I rolled the bike down off the ramp .... oops. No permanent damage to his complexion I don't think.... I'll have to watch that in the future!

I can't figure out why the politicos want to keep building more roads. If they have the money for that nonsense they need to spend it on maintaining the ones they already built!

Early in the run, I hit one bit of humped up pavement on I-25 in Denver, right around the Broncos stadium. Was only rolling maybe 55 mph. when I come around a bend and, no warning, no way to avoid, just WHAM! Bounced the whole rig, Big Red and the Jayco 1/2 way into the next lane.... NOT a good deal!
Fine way to start a long day! But Slick stayed put... though that might just be where the forks got a little TOO compressed. (and people worry about driving on the Alaskan Highway!)

Got to snowing hard running through Albuquerque Tuesday night. Just after rush hour, figured only an hour or so to Soccoro and bed! Still a lot of traffic though, and could we see any lane lines? Not a chance, not with my eyes anyway!

New Mexicans to the left of me. New Mexicans to the right of me and not a lane line in sight!

YEE HAW! Good Ol' Wild West! ..... whew! Drove out of that little storm maybe 15 miles south of town so rolled on down to a roadside rest area north of Soccoro. 500+ miles and 11 hours after pulling out. WAY TOO LONG!

The weather at Santa Fe and Albuquerue really burned time up.

Nice, noisy truckers haven! .... forgotten by us was the quiet, welcoming Wally World just another few miles down the highway.

Another relearned lesson! ...... remember the 7 P's I told you about? Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance! If I'd just turned on the CoPilot GPS it would have reminded me about Wally World! ..... DUH!

But we're here and I'm slowly getting my head into the correct take it slow mind set .... you wouldn't think it would be so difficult to get such a tiny little mind turned around would you?

I've found a couple spots where I can access Wi Fi so I should be able to do several posts of my tribulations! I'm feeling pretty windy so I'll cut you some slack with this one. I'll try to break up all the wind into a few smaller gusts!

Till then take care

February 1, 2007 14:49 - Another Gust!!

When I unloaded Slick, I also found he had a dead battery ..... ? OK, all the junk is out of the way now right? It's heavy overcast and wet here.... waiting for the sun .... It's supposed to turn nice in a day or so .... I'm hoping, I can ride cold where I came from!

I had to use the CoPilot GPS to get around town this morning. Hey! I grew up here! Boy oh boy, the town I knew is long gone! I see the road signs and the names are familiar but man are the roads different. we left Tucson more than twenty five years ago and really haven't been back a lot since. Good thing I've got that GPS system. takes me right to the doorstep without a hitch .... at least today! ... what am I gonna do on the Yamaha? .... better pin my name and address to my jacket huh?

Found a used bookstore ( OK, CoPilot found it for me) with free wi fi for the earllier post .... lazy bugger that I am, I didn't even get out of the truck! Just sat in the parking lot in front of the store and did my internet thing. Pretty cool actually. I have a whole list of sites for Tucson I got off a free wi fi listing site on the web. ..... Duh! I should put that site on the links page huh?.... one more addition to my 'To Do list'.

Hooray! A spike of sun just broke through the window and looking back to the west is blue sky!

Don't know how many of you have been in Tucson lately, wow! If you wan't seclusion, and peace and quiet I'd suggest you look elsewhere. I couldn't believe it when I saw city limits signs, must be, half way to Benson!
This place is humming with people, especially this time of year I suppose.

Big Red ran pretty well coming down. The extra weight of the bike and motorcycle carrier put a dent in fuel consumption though. Total average finished up at 973 miles at 10.3 mpg, running mostly at 68 mph. For a while through northern New Mexico it had dropped down below 10, but climbed back up on the flatter and lower country south of Albuquerque. Runs so good around town the average is already back up over 13mpg.

I'm hoping, once we're on the road fulltime, in the next few months, to have a monthly combined average with and without the Fifth Wheel on, of around 14 mpg. On the majority of our wanderings, where I can really putzy along on the two lane, I expect to be near or over 14mpg (with the trailer on) for a lot of it. A combined average of 14 is keeping our budget plans on the conservative side, I'm hoping!

Putzying is better for my outlook too!

Diesel was most expensive at Raton pass at $2.74 and so far the cheapest was near Johnsons Corner in Colorado at $2.43! Still pains me that diesel is so much more than unleaded .... considering it used to be several cents cheaper and takes less refining ....

I sure don't think the price of fuel is stopping folks from RV'ing. I don't believe I've ever seen more rigs on the road. I swear, there were nearly as many RV's as there were Semis!

Folks are here using the Pima County Fairgrounds RV' parking from all over. Washington, South Dakota, Montana. A lot that were here when we pulled in yesterday are gone. Looks like plenty use this as an overnight spot. I'll have to file that one away too.... County Fairgrounds for overnights and longer. Full hookups often available too. We have that here.

I know, that's sacreligious for somebody who's run his mouth as much as me about RV Boondocking, but sometimes you just have to bend a little. That there is where I have some little difficulty. I tend to try to push things into just how I want them to be .... and get all frustrated and upset with an inflamed liver when it don't happen! So take it from one who goes there way too often .... relax. Take it as it comes. Accept what you don't have the ability to change much anyway, and you (and I!) will have a much more harmonious outcome!

I'm off to go hunting one of those more harmonious outcomes!

February 2, 2007 08:56 - Yes! The Arizona weather we all come here for!

Sun! Looked out the window this morning ..... Blue Sky as far as the eye can see! Finally! A gorgeous Arizona morning! Monte Walsh on the stereo.... hot coffee from my redneck starbucks machine.... my family and good dogs with me. And an Arizona Morning! Thank God for the life he's let me have!

It don't get any better!

Getting ready to haul the girls to the Bead Show (our daughter joined us by way of Frontier airlines yesterday) then I'm off to locate a fresh battery for Slick and then .... you guessed it ..... some Arizona riding in the sunshine!

Put a new sewer hose on this morning first thing.... did I tell you they burned up the old one cutting the bumper off to install the motorcycle carrier? OOPS! So I had picked up a new one. But, I only got a 10 footer..... I NEVER need longer than that .... until now! so I picked up a 20' at Wally World and swapped fittings over this morning.

Also discovered I took a tool box out of the rig sometime past, and forgot to put it back in .... I need the allen wrenches that are in it to access the battery box on Slick .... so I gotta get a new allen wrench set .... How could I forget such a thing? A brilliant Ol' buster like me? I never do any such sort of thing!

But once I get a fresh eveready it's zoom zoom baby! Yes!

Off for a day of Beadin' an' Bikin' !

February 4, 2007 16:48 - An RV Boondocking Dilema ...... maybe?

I may find myself in a little bit of trouble next week. We have to head back to Colorado .... and I'm pretty sure I ain't wantin' to go! .... guess I'll need to, if I want to get that house sold!

Josh, my future son in law, told us last night it was 15 below the other morning...... oooooffffff. It hurts me just thinkin' on it. Hearing it makes my toes ache.

But here, I'm in RV Heaven! (or almost, since we aren't boondocking here). I put a leg over Slick about noon today for a little 110 mile jaunt through the Southern Arizona hills. Hard to tolerate when it's 75 degrees on a clear, absolutely gorgeous Arizona winter day!

Only clouds in the sky were some wispy little white things off on the western horizon. Only made it prettier.

Rode that Yamaha through the hills down Hwy 83 to the grasslands around Sonoita and Patagonia. Turned east on 82 toward Tombstone. The sound of that just makes your wandering feet itch don't it?

Stopped at Whetstone where 82 meets 90 and sat for a bit, enjoying the sun and a cup of coffee. Just watched the other lucky buggers rolling by on every sort of bike there is .... including one really wierd, dune buggy looking three wheeler!

Went a ways up toward Kartchner caverns and then decided to just double back and not complete that circle on the interstate.

Road Runners (beep beep!) Wily Coyote, and a nice little herd of Arizonas Antelope made for a sweet little "homecoming".

Rolled through one Border Patrol check point on highway 83. They declined to have me stop. Guess they figured I wasn't smuggling illegals in my saddlebags!

The country down here is as pretty as I remembered from Cowboyin' around here as a kid. Been a long time since I've been in Sonoita. I was mostly just over on the other side of the Santa Rita mountains. Right near where Green Valley is now.

It's filled up some around Sonoita, but not a fraction of how the Tucson Valley has been buried under rooftops!

Lots of grass and junipers. Miles and miles of Big Country. First time I've felt like I could take a whole breath in some little while. The front range we call home right now is overloaded with two legged varmints!

Would've popped some pics, but Heidi and Keriann got to playing with my camera on the way to Kerianns wedding shower last night.... and killed the battery .... which I then forgot to replace this morning! Bummer.

You'll just have to take my word on it .... if you've not been down here, Sonoita, Patagonia and for that part most all of my home state of Arizona is some awful pretty country! (minus maybe the big cities .... those never have shined for me!)

Yes sir, I'm going to have a hard time pulling out and heading back into the fridgid north country next week. At least I'll have a fresh memory of what I'm waiting out selling the house for!

and how sweet it soon will be!

February 6, 2007 18:40 - Took a break and found a superb place for a good meal

We got some weary of buying beads today .... at least I did. I succeeded in hanging a long enough face that Heidi took pity on me and we called it a day a good while after noon.

As I was getting on toward starvation, and the sound of my belly rubbing on my backbone was starting to irritate people, I talked Heidi into hunting up a place for a late lunch .... almost supper.

She knew of a place she'd eaten before and really liked it so we headed up that way. It's up in the Casas Adobes area of NW Tucson. Called Tohono Chul Park Tea Room, they serve what they call fine southwestern cuisine. Not what I'd call a place for a cheap meal, but at $25 for the two of us, not a bad price either.

Not something we do every day, but a nice change every once in a while.

I had the Pepperjack Ziti .... huh? .... figured I'd find out what the heck that was .... I did and it was great! Heidi had their Quesadilla .... a favorite of hers and she said they measured up well.

Considering the atmosphere of the place I actually thought it worth every nickle. (and I'm a skinflint for sure!) Nothing better than sitting in a quiet Arizona desert garden, on a warm winter day, for an easy, restoring, meal with your lady.

The restaurant is a rustic adobe type building in the Tohona Chul Park. The park was set up as sort of a museum of nature and southwestern culture. So, either before, or after your meal you'll want to take in at least some of the nature trails, exhibits and gift shop.... walk off some of that Banana Napolean you had for desert right?

My superb discipline made me successful at resisting that temptation .... but barely!

Check it out at:

7366 N. Paseo del Norte, Tucson, Arizona 85704

If any of you RVers plan on using the Pima County Fairgrounds for an overnight or a few days, like we're doing this week, and want some BBQ, we found another spot for that the night before last. Go North up Houghton RD from the fair grounds a few miles to the first shopping center on the left. There's a Frys supermarket in there too. On the west side of the center is a little place called 'Bad Bobs'.

We had a 'family pack' of pulled pork that was excellant. We figured for $15.99 for the three of us (my daughter was still here) it was a good deal. Included what I thought was pretty good cole slaw and potato salad along with buns for 4 sandwiches. But considering it fed Heidi and I the next night as well, and was really good ( at least in my opinion!), I calculate that I can call it a great deal!

I've decided, the hassle of running out from 'camp' to find a Wi Fi location to upload posts to the site is the hassle I figured it would be. Just re-enforces my intention to have Motosat/Datastorm installed as soon as the God Blessed house sells!

Circled around the TTT Truck stop the other night trying to find a spot with decent signal .... Finally found it though ... sitting as close to their dumpster collection as I could get! Oh the sweet aroma of fine internet service!

Well fed, and Bead weary .... I'm headed for bed! .... and only 7:30? ........... OHHHH Heiiiidi ..... wanna play Widow and the Wicked Landlord?

Till Next time

February 8, 2007 11:49 - Backroading in the Santa Ritas

We took the afternoon off again and went backroading with Big Red in the Santa Rita Mountains south of here.

A little over half way down to Sonoita on Hwy 83 is a little road that takes off west toward Continental, through the mountains. It's paved, maybe half way and then goes to washboardy dirt. It's a slow go, but then, why be in a hurry.

If we ever set up a winter camp down here somewhere, the Sonoita side of the Santa Rita mountains is where Miss Heidi wants to be.

You come out, going west, at the town of Continental. My first job cowboyin' was between there and the Peaks of the Santa Rita mountains. Back in those days, something like 40 years ago now, all that was there was a couple of trailer houses. And I mean, rough, wore out, ramshackle single wide, junk, trailer houses! and a feed lot.

Somewhere, back in there was the remains of Hel Vitia .... a ghost town .... can't tell you if I got that spelling right.
Just a few adobe ruins, not much to tell, of a lot of hard work.

Now there's a center with offices of lawyers, financial planners, you name it. Like Heidi said, not a blue collar establishment in the lot! Left me kind of disoriented. Odd what 40 years will do to a place.

We were shooting to stop in at the art festival they're having in Tubac but got there a little too late. About half the vendors and displays were closing up, so we just rolled on by this time.

Went looking for a place we used to frequent when I was a runt. There was a place on the side of the road, back before I-19 went in, that had the best deep dish apple pie you could imagine. Just a little hole in the wall bar, that set back from the road a little bit.

We'd chase cows up on the mountain all day and then swing by there on our way back to Tucson. The old enough fellas would sip a beer... or two, while us young punks wolfed down that deep dish apple pie a la mode, with a soda chaser!

Back then it was mostly a little bar with just as little a cafe included. Really just a couple tables. Heidi and I spotted the Cow Palace in about the right location ..... but it was way too big! I remembered a little hole in the wall maybe 20 feet wide and here was a full fledged restaurant..... the name was right as well, we figured (or Heidi did) it was worth a look.

My lady walked up to the door to check out the menu and came back grinning. "It may not be the place but they've got deep dish apple pie with buttered rum sauce!" We'd been drooling for a couple hours wonderin' if the old place had managed to stay alive somehow.

Went in planning only on the dessert .... ended up having a light supper, making sure we left room for the apple pie! Just as good as I remembered.

Turned out it was the right place. From our table I was looking at a windowed brick wall that looked into the Old Bar. That brick wall was the outside wall of the old place I was remembering. Behind me was maybe 5 times as much space that had been added on. We were glad to find it.

When they put in I-19 back in the '70's I guess it was, the only exit was a couple miles south. It had pretty much killed the place for a long time. I was happy to see it had somehow managed to survive.

Sometime after we left the area, they went back and put in an exit right there. It's the Arivaca exit on I-19. Also called exit 48! The place is the Cow Palace. 28802 South Nogales Highway for you gps users.

Rough hewn beams. Old west type decor with a great flavor to the atmoshpere.... and the food! If you're heading to Nogales or Tubac and want to make a meal stop along the way, comin' or goin', I can recommend the Cow Palace in Amado. Check out one of my first cowboy haunts!
(can be a little confusing .... Amado is at the interstate .... Arivaca is back in a few miles .... pretty back in there as well)

Brought back a lot of good memories of those sunny slopes of long ago!

The only problem of the last few days is the food I keep finding .... keep this up and I'm gonna have to put overload springs on Big Red!

I should go fire up Slick and capture a few more miles. We need to load up in the morning and move up to the school grounds where Heidi and Buck have their trial this weekend. I'll have to leave him loaded then and won't have another opportunity on this circle.

Seeing as it's 75 beautifully warm degrees, just now, I should go take advantage of it. 'Cause soon it's back to the wintry north for a while. ooooffffff. NOT looking forward to that, not one bit, no sireee!

Scooter Time!

February 10, 2007 07:04 - Waiting for the start of a day of Dog Agility

Monte Walsh soft on the stereo. Good hot cup of coffee, a special mix roasted in New Mexico too! Cool in the mornings..... though 60 is a lot better than the nasty stuff they've been having up north!

Sure is nice to be able to build a cup of coffee at first light without the grinding of a generator. Having solar power on the rig is a huge improvement, worth every nickle to me.

Lily came into season the last couple of days, so she'll not be able to stay over at our sunshade today. Likely would cause 'difficulties' with a few of the competitors. She is not an agility dog anyway. That's Bucks domain. Lily is more like the Queen of the mansion around here.

Had a little event last evening setting up. A good reminder and another example of what can happen if you don't use a checklist as a backup! I had set the leveling blocks and had the rig all nice and level. We're parked at a school facility and their parking lot has a pretty good drainage slope to it.

I was putting the jacks down and lifting the rig off the hitch .... screeeeeeech! UH! OH! screeeech! BANG!

Forgetting to put the chock block behind a tire on the fifth wheel allowed it to roll back about a foot. The jack pads slipped off the wood blocks I set them on as the tires rolled down off the leveling blocks.

Visions of the whole shebang just rolling across the lot and out into the hiway wandered across my brain .... which is a short trip as we all know! Luckily it only moved about a foot and no permanent dings except to my ego. So many dents there, I don't suppose anyone is going to notice one more!

If you're a bit tired and cranky from ugly traffic on the hiway, that's a real good time to take your time and do a once over on a checklist!

Laundry day today. I'll have to fire up CoPilot and go find a laundromat this afternoon ..... be easier to just go buy new clothes. Maybe some plaid bell bottoms! and one of those deep V cut, shiny, flowered, shirts with the pearl buttons to show off my manly chest!

Yeah right..... I'll just go wash my Ol' jeans

February 13, 2007 07:38 - Dog Agility and then another 'Leaving' .... back to Colorado

Actually, we already did all that! Didn't have time for the hassle I have found goin' out and huntin' up a Wi Fi location to be. I'm 100% decided at this point on an 'On the Rig Internet System'. If you have Wi Fi in the park or campground you stay in that would be fine, but man, if you have to go find it every time you want to do a post or surf ..... what a pain!

Buck in the Weave Poles
****Buck in the Weave Poles****

Heidi and Buck did pretty good in their first Arizona Dog Agility Trial. Buck ran a first and a fourth Saturday before it got hot. That gave him 2 "Q's" (qualifying scores) and moved his ranking up to the advanced standard in all the competition categories. The last run Saturday, it had gotten to nearly 85 degrees and Buck don't like HOT!

Buck going over a Dog Agility Jump
****Buck going over a Dog Agility Jump****

He pretty much blew that run off! lol .... but truthfully, we sort of expected that.

Buck said " at 85 degrees this Colorado winter coat ain't gettin' it down here on the desert, winter or not!" It gets hot and he goes huntin' up some shade. Pretty much loses his interest in Dog Agility! I can't do much but agree with him.

Sounds pretty whiny don't it? Two weeks ago I'm complainin' 'bout the cold, here I grouse about it bein' too hot.

Old duffers just can't be satisfied!

There were a lot of Arizona dogs running around with sort of an 'evaporative cooler' coat on. A fabric deal you soak with water and strap it on them, and it cools as the water evaporates. Pretty effective ..... but we didn't have one, and there's poor Ol' Buck with his Colorado Winter Coat on.

He ran well in his last class Sunday morning which broke off overcast and cool .... but he / they took a miscue somewhere and ran off pattern so the faults put them down. Life in the west.

One awsome thing about Dog Agility ... it's open to everyone. There was a gal there running her dog from a powered wheel chair, and running well. Nice bunch of people. And dogs of every type. From Pugs and Corgis to Spaniels and Aussies. Lots of fun.

Running Dog Agility in a Wheel Chair .... Awsome!****Running Dog Agility in a Wheel Chair .... Awsome!****

We loaded up and headed out Sunday afternoon. Wanted to beat the monday morning traffic in Tucson, the traffic in Tucson being just plain God Awful as far as I'm concerned!

That and the weather on our route is threatening again and I was hoping to get ahead of it. Not real excited about this run. Fact is I'm quickly getting back into the RV Boondocking mindset, and I just don't want to go back!

But .... the folks who looked at the house just before we left called and asked if they could go do another 'Look - See' , so maybe we have something working there! They used the phrase "we're REAL interested" again. If only I can keep from foot in mouth disease and muddying things up!

We stopped for the night at the good Ol' Wally World in Soccorro. Nice quiet nite. A little rain, which is a pretty sound on the roof in a rig. I sat there working on the computer for a couple hours. Awful nice. No grinding of a generator. If I listened real hard I could just hear the soft hum of the inverter.

Once of the first times we didn't actually go inside ..... we did leave $80 or so at the diesel fill 'em up just down the street though .... and a few more over at the Mickey D's next door, for egg McMuffins .... something those towns that want to shut off overnight parking should think about. If we couldn't have stopped there for a few hours, we would have just rolled along to the next place where we could, and they would have lost that business altogether.

Started rolling early Monday morning. Decided to just go ahead and roll it home and beat the weather. Had a little rain but no snow. That's starting to fall now. Although I truly hate pushing that far, that fast, I guess I'm glad to be off the road now that things might get a little greasy out there again.

Truck ran like a top again. Averaged a good solid 11 mpg at 65 mph all the way. Almost broke 12 in a few areas.
I'm happy with what it does, considering all the grades and wind along the way.

Here shortly, when I'll be tootin' along the two lane a lot slower, it will be a lot better. At least that's my expectation!

Windy as usual! I'll give it a rest for now and catch up some more later

Back in Colorado again, but I consider the Jayco to be 'Home' now!

February 13, 2007 11:03 - Thoughts about our new 'systems' after our 'Test Run'

This was the first long run after most of the improvements I've installed in the past few months. I spotted a few adjustments to be made but all in all everything worked super!

One thing that needed no adjustment was this rainbow, up by Oro Valley, as we pulled into the folks place, the first night in Tucson. We took it to be a good omen .... we were going by to check on my Mom. She just had her last chemo a couple of days prior.

Running the Black and Decker Home Cafe' ( which I must say has been working flawlessly for a few months now!), the furnace (a few chilly evenings), Heidi's hair dryer, the stereo, lights, computer, and all, the solar system worked perfect!

We actually only boondocked, without hookups, for a few days on the whole trip, but the system was recharged by early afternoon on those days. Considering I only have two Kyocera 135 panels of the planned 5, and the winter sun is still pretty low, I consider that to be pretty darn fine!

I'll wager that when I get the other three panels installed we'll be mostly generator free. RV Boondocking at its' finest.

The motorcycle carrier worked well. I ended up changing the way I tie down the front of the bike, moving the main tie downs lower on the forks and adding two up high. Ends up with six straps and two bungee cords holding the Yamaha in place.

Can you tell I don't want it falling off?

Came up with a solid idea on how to add a 'built in' cable hoist to the set up. The hoist system will eliminate a separate jack and simplify things a little more. Also am going to add a bit of a 'guide plate' to stabilize the track as I raise it.

I'll get these mods worked out and built ASAP!

Was kind of interesting as we rolled. Cars and rigs would come up in a hurry, as I only roll at 65-68 hitched up. As soon as they were on my bumper they would just stop ..... I figured they were checking out the carrier and/or the bike .... and then they would surge on past.

Kind of fun for a show off to have folks checking out his tail end! lol .... at least in my own mind!

The only thing that as far as I'm concerned that DID NOT work for me was using Wi Fi to access the internet. I had a list of places around town where I could get it. But it meant firing up the truck and rolling maybe 10 miles there and back to get it done. If we were really bushed up somewhere, back of beyond it would be a royal aggravating pain.

If all you need to do is check e-mail on occasion I suppose it would be OK, but if you want to do daily work, not gonna happen for this little keyboard puncher!

One other thing I need to do something about I guess. Although the whole rig rolls, rides and hauls fine, it has affected the headlight aim a little. I haul, most of the time, very little at night. But this time, with all the extra weight, I was getting a lot of people flashing their brights at me. Never happened before.

But, if I readjust the lights for when the rig is hitched up, they'll be in the dirt more than half our mileage, when I'm running bobtail.

I had been planning on putting the Firestone air bag suspension on the old '98 to boost it's capacity. This truck doesn't need that, it doesn't even set down on the factory overload springs. But, with airbags I could in affect adjust the headlights, raising and lowering the bed height .... kind of an expensive 'headlight adjuster' ....but the only thing I can come up with at the moment..... and it IS another piece of fancy equipment to play with on Big Red!

19 degrees here as I write this. We had 85 on the desert Saturday afternoon ..... oooooffffff! I didn't think you could acclimate that fast. I was a hurtin' puppy unloading the rig this morning ..... Mommy, what happened to the sun?

Still working to not get overheated about the possibilities with these folks looking hard at the house, but it's difficult!
I want to get back south, where I belong this time of year! ......

Much to do and no rest for the wicked so off to work I go!

February 14, 2007 10:59 - Traveling with our Dogs.

How's this for an early morning vision on the RV Boondocking road? Don't it just stir your urge to wander? "Goin' down that long lonesome highway.... gonna, do it my way." Ever hear Michael Parks sing that one? .....

Morning Vision on the Hiway

Our pups travel well. With the Dog Deck built in the back seat, they have a comfortable place to lay and we still have some storage space they can't get in to.... when they're awake!

Dogs sleeping on the dog deck
****seem pretty stressed out don't they?****

Something that continues to keep me wonderin' is the number of folks I see, traveling with their dogs who do two things really, really, wrong.

The first is not only wrong, but dangerous. To others as well as the pup himself. We were out walking the dogs, before turning in for the night. As we strolled down the row of rigs, parked at the fairgrounds, heading back to the Jayco, Heidi with Buck and me with Lily on her leash, a white dog darted out from between a couple RV's in the line. Not a human soul in sight.

That little fool ran up on Lily way to fast. He was on her before we knew he was there. Only problem for him was, Lily, is an Australian Shepherd and quick as a blink.

She swapped ends and pounced on that little trespasser before I knew he was even there!

ARRRR! ARRRR! ARRRR! He ran off quicker then he had come in. Happened so fast I almost didn't have time to curse at the bugger .... almost.

What part of "All dogs must be on a leash" do folks not get? Seems pretty easy to understand to me. I sure don't need a dog fight in the middle of the night! ..... and my underwear sure don't need the extra abuse! Startled the stuffin' out of me! I didn't have a bag big enough for that one! Walked funny all the way back to the rig.

There were 3 or 4 rigs that continued to just turn their dogs out,
even after they'd been warned. Maybe I'm just cranky, but it
seemed awful rude to me.

I come from a culture where a stray dog is in real jepardy. We simply didn't tolerate them around our stock. Something to keep in mind traveling the west. Ranchers and farmers are often quick to settle the issue...... They're awful protective of their livestock.

I can't find much fault with 'em either. Only takes a few seconds for a 'playing' dog to run a horse into a wire fence, cutting it to ribbons. Only takes a minute for a dog chasing sheep (playing in some folks minds) in the heat of summer for that Ewe to fall over dead or maybe abort.

Another time, a couple was fiddling with junk in their car at a gas station. Their big dog was just wandering all over the place. Several times right up to the edge of the busy road, right beside the station. Came within a foot or two of being hit.

The people in the car were oblivious to what he was doing and I'm sure would have blamed the poor sucker driving down the road if the pup had stepped out into traffic ..... Seemed offended when I said something. Sometimes I should just mind my own business I guess?

Keep that leash handy, and use it, PLEASE!

The second error isn't dangerous, but it can still sure cost all RVers.

Staying there at the Pima County Fairgrounds during the bead show is the first time we've stayed in a "Quartzsite" kind of crowd in a long time.

I'll bet 50% of the rigs there had dogs along. Of that, it looked to me like 50% of those weren't cleaning up after the pooches.


And the pole with the "pooh bags" was right there handy! You had to walk right past it and the trash can to get to the area to walk the suckers. Right back past it AGAIN when you were leaving ..... double GEEZ!

It was a pretty easy thing to judge. .... If the dog squats for a while, after which the two legged varmint on the other end of the leash just walks away, it's a fairly safe bet that they left a "donation" behind!

Here's the deal. If we ignore the rules in a Community situation, and create a problem with other folks, it's only a matter of time 'till they exclude us from the community.

When it comes to our (mine and Heidis') dogs, they're a part of our family. I will clean up after them and they will be on a leash where that is the requirement. Pure and Simple.

Our pups need to run though, so on the road, we hunt up dog parks, that are set up in more and more towns, so they can do just that. Otherwise, leashed they are!

We need to make sure that every RVer knows and follows proper canine ettiquette! If we don't do this ourselves, we're going to find ourselves shut out of a lot of the places we really want to go.

We're not going to be able to use the fairgrounds.
We'll be closed out of Wal Mart.
Parks and attractions will be off limits.

The only things you'll be able to see will be "NO DOGS ALLOWED" signs.

We'll be Persona's non gratis. For sure and for certain.

Come on folks! It ain't that big a deal. Snap on the leash .... put the bag in your pocket and take 'em for a walk. You need it too! .... put the bag over your hand, pick up the offending deposits, pop 'em in the nearest trash can. Simple, clean, proper, and we get to stick around!

.... end of Sermon!

On a sweeter note, can you see Buck in Big Red? This was taken the day we went backroading in the Santa Rita Mountains, near Madera Canyon, east of Continental..... They day we went hunting deep dish apple pie at the Cow Palace.

Big Red near Madera Canyon

Got to keep reminding myself, those Warm places still exist!

February 16, 2007 07:46 - Sharpening my pencil

The couple interested in the house called again yesterday. Want to come out for the #3 look see. They're stewing over the deal I'm sure. I can't blame them any, just makes me awful impatient.

We've calculated pretty hard, just how thin we'd be willing to cut things to make it fly. Doesn't make sense to shoot ourselves in the foot though. Hard to drive with one foot all bandaged up! I hope these are the folks but I can deal with it if they're not ..... boo hoo .... poor, poor, me.

We're both "over it" and just want to get in the rig and get gone. We made the decision a long time ago. Now we're ready to have the "transition" done with! Heidi said it last night ..... "This is the part I hate." This waiting sucks!

I'll be happy to be able to write about the little mountain lake I found today, scouting on Slick, rather than just another ..... "We are patiently waiting for the future to arrive ..... and hunting ways to accelerate the process!"

Didn't find the time between family and Bead Shows to get up to the rally The Gypsy Journal was hosting in Casa Grande. Leaves that little pleasure for some day in that fuzzy future.

Kind of hard to see Buck in the windshield of that pic I posted yesterday isn't it? See that little grey splotch in the center of the windshield? Guess he shows up better in the full size picture in my album ..... duh. Maybe some day I'll take the time to figure out the procedure for doing thumbnails ..... might be a useful thing with a picture here and there.

There is some worry running around some of the forums I've seen, that the Forest Service was abandoning the Golden Access Passport. No! Say it ain't so!

My understanding is that they are only changing the card, not the program. The new name of the card escapes me right now, but the basic policies of the program remain the same. There are some old "paper" cards that they are replacing with a plastic version on the spot. If you have one of the newer plastic/laminated versions already, those are supposed to remain a permanent, lifetime thing.

Made me a little nervous for a short bit. That card saves me 50% at Forest Service campgrounds and gives us entry to National Parks etc. A nice benefit for Disabled Vets ......

Listened to Old country, from the 50's and 60's, rolling across the hinterlands of New Mexico coming back up to the wintry north over the weekend. That Sirius Satellite radio is a fine little machine. Used to be some pretty big blank spots where you couldn't get any radio reception at all. Or, you'd find a station you really liked, but you'd lose it after only a few miles and go huntin' around the dial again.

With that Sirius Satellite radio in Big Red, I can listen to the station I like, from San Diego to Bangor, Maine. Only place I lose the reception is under the awning at the filling station!

February 20, 2007 08:10 - Work hard to keep your life in proper perspective

I know I've been whining about real estate, the weather, traffic, all the usual complaints.

How pathetic is that?

A young, Iraq war vet, who survived that horror and came home to serve his community as a police officer, was murdered in Phoenix Monday.

As an odd twist, his mother is the closest of friends to my sister. My sister was the first wife of his father. He was considered another son by my sister, and was a half brother of my nephews.

Their hearts are breaking and I am impotent to ease their pain. The only thing I can say, is that the honor and integrity, in which Anthony Holly conducted his life, elevated him into an elite class, which the rest of us can only aspire to.

Hold your families and friends close. Their heartbeat can be taken from you, forever, in a moment of time.

Don't complain about the weather or the traffic as I do. Value it as another moment you can spend with those you need to give your world value.

Take Care

February 22, 2007 06:39 - Working on Some New RV Storage Solutions

Squeezing in the leather tools I require for my leather carving and Custom Album work is a bit of a challenge.

I've been working on the packing plan for my leather tools some more, along with the design of a storage compartment I'm going to build under the belly of the Jayco, for a few other odds and ends we require, for our RV Boondocking future.

I know, it's a long time coming, but I remain confident. We will break loose from here and be RV Boondocking one day soon!

I've schemed a way of packing things that will allow me, I think, (Ouch! thinking is too durn painful) to keep all my stamps, hand tools, and assorted small goods, inside the rig. The space under the rear seat of the dinette has always seemed fairly awkward to use for much. Having to pull up the cushion and then the seat deck always seemed a hassle.

The drawer under the forward seat was already claimed by Heidi for all her Knitting possibles..... and the cabinet under the TV is still being modified for her Beads...... And the main closet is hers ......... how come the girls get all the closets and drawers .... while us fellas get the nooks and crannies .... if we can find any?

There I go thinkin' again. Better quit that while my hide is still whole.

Then I got to thinking, for the most part, the only time I'll be pulling the leather craft tools out, is when we set up a long camp, so the "inconvenient" part is really not much to complain about is it? I just need to do a little carpentry and "tool box" shopping to build and/or find, the boxes that will fit the space under the seat the most efficiently.

Under the forward belly of the Jayco is around 15" of available verticle space (between the frame rails) by something like 4' front to back and 5 1/2' wide. I could actually stretch that front to back space a bit, but I'm not sure how I'd reach what I could stuff in there!

I can just see me crawling in there to reach for some gear that got pushed all the way up front, and getting snagged on something ..... Hey Heidi! Come down here, grab hold of my leg ..... and pull me the heck outa here! My ego just can't take any more abuse.

Like the leather tools, I'll only need to access this compartment infrequently so it shouldn't be much bother. That and since I flipped the axles, raising the whole rig a few inches, getting under there is really pretty easy.

I've roughly figured out a light framework to support a plywood decking . The plan is to put most of Heidis Dog
agility obstacles, (mostly, break down, PVC pipe jumps) the Jayco's spare tire (removed for the motorcycle carrier), my fold-up leather work bench, our blue boy, and maybe a chair or two under there.

I have confidence that I can get this rig badly overloaded, if I keep trying!

Actually, outside of the tire and the bench, this stuff is all pretty lite. Mostly just odd sizes and bulky, making it hard to pack in the truck or the couple of storage compartments on the fifth wheel. That would be my only real complaint about the layout of this RV trailer. Plenty of inside storage. They missed the boat on the outside I'm afraid.

A little Cowboy ingenuity and some Rube Goldberg engineering and we'll fix that RV Storage shortage for sure!

So, I should have a few new RV storage solutions to write some articles on soon, and hopefully give you some ideas for packing up some of your own goods.

You should see the mountains this morning. Sun shining bright on the snowy peaks of the Front Range. John Denver is starting my day today.

I hope the day treats you well. Stay safe.

February 23, 2007 08:06 - Tooling Leather again

I've been so tied up with other things, I've not done any Leather Tooling or Leather Carving for quite a while. Working at finding the best way to squeeze my "mobile shop" into the Jayco yesterday, stimulated my tooling juices I guess.

So after I got weary of .... move this over there .... try this in here .... turn this over and stuff that under it .... I said Hey! .... maybe I should try out my new "tooling bench". So I cut a piece of leather for the front cover panel of an Album, got it cased sufficiently and started tooling!

I have to say, so far so good! The tools that will be packed under the seat will fit pretty well. Truly little hassle to get to them, once we are in camp. And the dinette, which I rebuilt for this purpose, last year, seems to work pretty well.
There is a little "spring" in it when I'm tap tap tapping on a piece of leather but nothing that amounts to a problem.

And the new Tooling slab I put together is sweet! I went to a place that cuts granite counters and picked a piece of 3/4" granite to cut into a 15" square. Siliconed that down to a square of masonite. Finished the edges with some hickory left over in the old shop and installed a 5 oz. piece of chap leather on the bottom to keep it quiet and prevent it from slipping around much as I tool.

Funny how things happen. I was feeling pretty cranky about the way things are dragging on, (mostly real estate heartburn) and all the obstacles that seem to just keep jumping up. Started feeling sorry for my poor little self.

Since, all things considered, I have it pretty good, feeling sorry for myself would be a pretty poor choice.

Forgot how just sitting at a bench with my tools, shaping a piece of leather into something useful and beautiful at the same time .... while the stereo hums along in the background, is awful good therapy for my Old Timeritis Temperment!

I think I made a mistake when I stopped doing any leather at all, when I closed up the shop last year .... I always planned to go to carving Custom Albums, for some of our grocery money, once we got on the road. Seems pretty sensible to keep my carving skills "tuned up" in the meantime don't it? ....

Wasn't one of you guys supposed to take a sizeable stick and slap me upside the back of my head if I did something that just made no sense? Something along the lines of WHACK!!! ....YO! DUMMY!!!! ... WHACK!!! .... WAKE UP!!! ..... :)

So as part of my continuing Escape effort I'll be spending a few hours a week, carving leather into Custom Albums for my "Coming Soon!" Custom Photo Album / Scrapbook Gallery.

Here is the album cover panel I partially tooled yesterday afternoon. Planning on doing some flowers in the center section today.

Tooled Album Cover

Have any of you ever thought about Leather Craft as a recreational activity that fits into the RV Boondocking lifestyle? It's really pretty nice. And a person can get "into it" at just about any level they find comfortable. You can just buy small, ready kits for differant things or buy raw leather and build pieces to your own patterns, and pretty much anywhere in between. If you're looking for something to occupy your time and mind in a creative way, and knitting don't toot your whistle .... give a little leather carving a try!

Gotta go .... the leather is calling!

February 27, 2007 11:08 - Two steps forward one step back

Got that custom album cover mostly finished. Still needs a little touch up here and there. I sure like it when something turns out pretty nice looking! If I say so myself, this one is turning out to be one of my better pieces.

New Custom Album Cover

Got it carved just in time too. Saturday night I was loading an Oak file cabinet, into the back of one of Heidis customers cars, at her store. Discovered that the boots I had on had really lousy traction on the ice I didn't see there at the curb.

One leg went north east. The other due south while the foot on that southern leg couldn't decide which way it wanted to go. While they were all trying to sort out what they were going to do, that oak cabinet decided to just stop and wait for the decision ..... sitting on my knee.

End result is one fairly busted up knee. Waiting to see if it heals up on it's own, or if something is really tore up inside there.

I suppose it will allow me to sit at the dinette and get some more tooling done! I really should put out the effort to come up with a less uncomfortable excuse.

Just another example of why leather craft is a pretty good avocation for busted up RV Boondocking geezers and geezettes. You can sit at the table doing it even if the rest of your carcass is wore out!

I'll be tap tap tapping for the rest of the day!

January 2007 «  » March 2007


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