RV Boondocking the Good Life

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August 1, 2007 07:36 - Rainy Day Bikin'

This waitin' around is getting to be a genuine test of my aging will power.

I mean; Pick up a foot. Push it out in front... put it down... grumble - grumble - grumble... Pick up the other foot... push it out in front... put it down... grumble - grumble - grumble.... Pick up that first foot... do it all again.....

Not good for my complexion :-)

So, in an effort to balance things out a little, I put a coat of varnish on the desk top, gagged on the fumes for a while ,then jumped on Slick to go do a head clearing run up Big Thompson Canyon.

I managed to make it to Estes Park before the rain. Aborted the run on in to Rocky Mountain National Park .... since you couldn't hardly see the mountains for the sheets of rain that looked to be coming down up there.

The run up the canyon was nice enough. My connection is slow and iffy so I haven't got any pics uploaded.

I'm thinkin' of startin' a new business. Sort of a 21st Century, rain maker medicine show sort of a deal.

I'd call it: "A Cowboy and His Motorcycle... Guaranteed Drought Busters!"

Seems like all I got to do is straddle that scooter, head for the high up twisties and I'm sure to get wet! I've said it before, I like the rain... but... enough already! There is indeed, for sure and for certain, such a creature as 'Too much of a good thing' !

Four weeks.... Four rides.... Four pair of wet boots! At this point I'd not mind a DRY RIDE!

Yeah I know.... quichurbitchin... But if I don't do it - who will?

If I don't do a proper amount of senile whinin', the whole dang world would get all out of balance, start spinin' all lopsided... motorhomes will go out of control when the road gets to rockin' with all the gyrations... run off into the bar ditch and bust up a bunch of fiberglass... and all because you'all made me quit my whinin'!

Ain't you just sorry you brought it up now?

... if you want good tastin' coffee.... don't let your chickens roost over the well.

Gotta go now.... gotta get some more waitin' done

August 2, 2007 07:14 - Goin' to the County Fair!

This one is up in Laramie County, Wyoming.

Been some little while since we've been to the County Fair. The kid graduated High School almost eight years ago now... and 4H about the same time. We used to 'live' there for a week every summer... and all the work the year before leading up to it.

Hogs, sheep, steers, sewing.... she was a pretty busy kid...

A friend of ours is a Judge for the 4H dog agility there today... thought it would be fun to see the lil' uns running a course.

It'll give Big Red a chance to stretch his legs a little as well. Just runnin' around town all the time has him 'down' a little :-)

The 'desk' is complete and varnished... the blurb on it will be on the site in a day or so.... internet connection willing.

Just about have the rig livable again... finally. I've been pretty slow on that to tell the truth. Took a bit to decide to jetison a few things. I've decided... When in doubt... DUMP it! :-)

I'm seeing a real 'problem' with the GPS Navigation systems.... People quit using their eyes and that mushy gray thing between their ears. Don't know if it's a decision of theirs or some sort of electronical interferrence.

We've been parked here, at the concrete barrier end, of a "Road is Closed to ALL Traffic" road, since the 12th of June.

There is a constant parade of cars, trucks and trailers, motorhomes, fed-X trucks, even a fire truck turning around at the barricade! I've talked to three people who's "GPS led me right here!"

One fella a couple days ago was actually ANGRY that the KOA didn't tell him the road was closed. He was driving a Class 8 Conversion Motorhome with a big bike trailer, headed for Sturgis. "My GPS said go up this road."

The last mile, before you get to the barricade, there is "Road is Closed" sign after "Road is Closed" sign. 1/4 mile south, at the last intersection are two - 3 Foot detour Arrows.... Just below the 8' "ROAD IS CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC" sign..... no matter: "My GPS said go up this road!"

And he drove his 72' Rig right between 'em and then was mad as hell.... when he got to the barricade.... and you guessed it... the road was actually closed! "My GPS said to go this way!"

"How in the hell am I supposed to turn my rig around here?" he hollered.... You ain't you donkey! You were supposed to turn at the detour sign and go around! .... apparently his GPS navigation system can't read.

Now people... those GPS gizmos are great. I use one myself.... but where in the directions does it say to turn off your brain? Come on. How is the GPS, that was written a year or two ago supposed to know that the road is closed - THIS- summer for major construction?

Your GPS is a great help, but you still have to use some common sense... and read the road signs.... if it says DETOUR.... take the detour.... don't assume the GPS gizmo on the dash knows a secret way around the barricade!

I mean .... if the road runs off a cliff.... are you going to drive right off with it because the GPS said go that way? :-)
Sounds like Momma don't it?

I'm bound for the County Fair.... Don't name a pig you're gonna eat.... unless you call him Bacon!

P.S. Discovered something the other day. If you are one of the people using the Black and Decker one cup coffee maker.... and the little 'Presto' brand refillable coffee holder, you might be interested to know that at least around here, Wal Mart has quit carrying them.... Thanks Wally!

If, like me, you need them little round filter discs you'll need to order them direct from Presto I guess. I found their website here: www.presto-net.com

Look under the products button and go to coffee makers. They're a buck fifty....

August 3, 2007 07:43 - Life is what happens when you're makin' plans... right?

So, we headed off to the 'County Fair' ... only it wasn't... was just a couple of events - before - the fair. The big show don't start till Saturday.... Oh Well.

It was fun watchin' the kids try to put their dogs through their paces. One kid did great and was real happy... a little girl had her pup jump out of the arena, which disqualified her and sent her into tears. Makes you just ache for 'em.

The thought occured to me that here were a bunch of kids... and their parents... on the right road. I figure these kids will get somewhere. A lot less likely to fall prey to drugs and such... when they have a lot of Good and valuable 'interests' to fill their worlds.

We had planned to make a circle over through North Park to visit our friends at the 'Rand Store' in .... of all places... Rand, Colorado. But... that Heidi spent too much time browsing at the Sierra Trading Post Outlet Store.... and we rolled into North Park late..... That and the heavy rain as we dropped out of Woods Landing and WyColo Lodge slowed us down.

Two bikers, who needed some better sense, didn't help either. I don't think I've ever seen more gear piled on a bike. That second scooter had bags and bundles piled HIGHER than the passengers head! That thing wiggled back and forth in the rain and can I say they rolled slow?

Being a 'Biker' my ownself I have a little insight. Thing is, when you have a windshield... and no windshield wipers... you have a pretty tough time seeing anything in heavy rain.... It's time to pull over and wait it out. NOT roll along at 20 mph on a road that folks can't pass you on... blocking the way.

Anyway... having withstood all those terrible tribulations, we rolled into Rand, twenty minutes after our friends had closed the store. Boo Hoo.... Heidi was so sad!

Nowhere to go but continue on south to Grand Lake. It's gorgeous country all through there, but a little sad as well. The pine bark beetle is devastating a good part of the state.... largely due to the misguided interferrence of the human race.

The thing is... that beetle can mostly only go after OLD trees. When it attacks young growth it is flooded out by sap that is much lower volume in older trees. And THAT is where the problem is... Since they stopped all the fires for far too long and won't allow the alternative of reasonable and proper logging.... the OLD growth is way too thick and virtually no NEW growth... In other words... we have a senile forest! A perfect environment for a beetle epidemic...

No young trees to moderate the infection.

The up side is... since the Aspen have been declining for years... due also to the lack of space from no fires and no logging... and being squeezed out by the pines, the removal of millions of trees by the Beetle is opening up millions of acres which will probably be colonized by Aspen! Since they grow so much faster than pines... the 'scars' created by the beetles will get greened up pretty quickly... if 'tree hugger' types don't interfere with the stewardship efforts to clear the dead trees, and foster the best conditions for the Aspen!

See.... there is some more of that 'balance'.... I feel better now.

It was drizzling a little as we rolled on south; The scent of the wet sage and the yellow clover along the roadside filling the cab as we drove was welcome after the disappointment of missing a visit with our 'friends'. We make a circle through that area, usually two or three times a year. Have for the last 10 years or more.

This year, this was the first time we've made it. Life getting in the way again :-)

Grand Lake was it's usual, bustling, summer tourist town.... of course, it has quite a bit of winter snowmobile activity as well....

Heidi got her shopping fix.... buying a 'shirt Jac' for me! To replace one worn out and discarded a couple weeks ago! Hah! Thought we were violating the rules didn't you! :-)

I found a good hat for her... she needs one for when we hike etc. .... but she wouldn't spend the money.... :-) my stingy ways may be having an affect on her!... though she says I'm a bigger 'spender' than she is.... hmmmm....

Then we moved on into the west side of 'Rocky', just about sunset.... almost perfect for seeing critters. Quite a few Moose mommas and their calves were out in the meadows getting supper... The soft rain falling, the high mountains, light traffic in the park... it couldn't have been better.... too dark for any pics... but plenty of light to feed a hungry spirit! Moose, Elk, Deer.... and gorgeous mountains as always.

Got a call from my daughter just before we'd left Grand Lake... the roof was leaking in HEAVY rain in our store in Fort Collins... according to her the water in the parking lot was up to the door of her car!

So we got to moving and soon found out there was a flash flood warning all over the town... we actually had to go east a couple miles and hook back around to clear some flood closed roads... the fiver was fine and dandy when we got back... headed into the store this morning to deal with the leaky roof....

Along the way I found some wisdom.... Raising teenagers is like trying to nail jello to a tree!

Apparently a truck works just as good for me as a bike... for making it rain!

August 4, 2007 07:20 - Lucky for you.... I'm feeling droopy today.... not much wind!

I got a couple pages about work I've gotten done built.

A couple people have expressed interest in how I was solving my RV Desk issue. It's nothing fancy, but for me it's working pretty well. More room to lay out papers... a few drawers and room for books etc.... and plenty of room for my coffee cup....

I may even move the coffee maker over there!

The other one is a page of miscellaneous RV Improvements I've done over the years.... mostly in the last few months as I've really tried to kick things into gear.

Picked up my auxilliary fuel tank yesterday... It's a 36 gallon from 'Better Built'... still trying to decide on the configuration of the fresh and waste water tanks I'm going to put in right alongside it.

My main issue at this point is... do I set the tanks so I access the fill and dumps from inside the bed... or turn them and run the connections through holes in the floor of the bed... over to the side underneath the truck for really easy hookup?!

Guess I need to decide how bad it would be ~ IF ~ some long time down the road I wanted to trade the truck off and it had a couple of gaping ports in the floor of the bed to seal up! Using it with permanent 'side connections' would sure make things easy for dumping... for a twisted up old guy. A lot easier than climbing in and out of the bed.

Heidi was laughing at me when I used a little stool a couple weeks ago at the storage shed.... hurt my feelings :-( I thought it was pretty smart. Made getting in an' out easy!

So much for no wind.... just a light breeze today I guess

I been wonderin' some...... How do you plant seedless watermelons?

August 5, 2007 12:54 - Making progress

Dan made the comment I have a pretty fine office window... and he's right.... sometimes it is hard to get anything done. There's a couple of squirrels live in an Elm that's maybe two feet from the glass. They chase each other around that tree half the day.

Yesterday one stopped, upside down to check me out, sitting at the desk. The other guy was runnin' all around the other trunk of the tree lookin' for him. I swear the guy hiding on my side of the tree put up a foot and said 'shhhhh' !

I expect to have as much 'difficulty' working in some of the other places I intend to take that 'office window' !

And Rojo accuse me of being a 'sick puppy' because my 'work station' was so neat.... well I am! I've been a recovering 'neat freak' for thirty years. I even have to make sure all the hangers are pointed the same direction in the closet.... and if they're different color hangers? Uh Oh.... better go to Wal Mart!

Causes considerable commotion too; if you consider that Heidi is terrified by flat, empty surfaces... counter tops, couches, chair seats... anything with a flat, empty surface. You've got to cover it with clutter! .... and I am tied in knots by clutter.... makes you wonder how we have hung together for 28+ years don't it?

It's probably that we keep each other plenty busy! :-)

The Realtor called yesterday. It looks like the last 'requirements' from the Bank that our 'Buyers' had to meet have been attained. The closing looks to be on schedule... I hate it when things 'seem' to be going right... I just figure it can't keep up! I keep expecting an ambush... must be the 'optomist' in me huh?

Anyway, knocking hard on a piece of wood, it looks like this train is picking up some speed.

I'm at the point where I'd like to commit with Bill Adams to get my Datastorm installed... but until I have that check in my greedy little hands I'm pretty hesitant to do such a thing. Hopefully, I'll be able to line up either the man himself or an installer he deals with somewhere along the early part of our run east to get our system put in.

I'd expect there might be a few days where I have some trouble getting online.... guess I can keep on with the wi-fi like I've been doing for a few more days. Boo Hoo. Poor me.

Just stopped by the rig for lunch.... have to get back to the hardware store! Those nuts and bolts won't sell by themselves! ... my days there are gettin' pretty short.... haven't thought of bein' a 'Short Timer' since the Army. I'm hoping to be down well under a month at this point! HEY HEY HEY! :-)

For all you investers out there, remember; The safest way to double your money... is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.

August 8, 2007 08:36 - Big Red gets some 'Goodies' today

Well, at least he starts to get 'em today. I spent most of yesterday chasin' parts all over town for the fuel tank installation. A couple little bits that are absolutely needed, were out of stock, in a couple locations... kind of hard to get fuel from the Auxilliary Fuel tank to the main tank if you don't have the fittings to connect the fuel line!

I can't start the work until Heidi gets back with the truck though.... something about 'store business'... this earning a living 'Stuff' sure gets in the way of my playin'!

I'm doing a little stronger installation this time around. I'll be putting in a pump to transfer fuel to the main tank this time, rather than relying on gravity.... with that last install, I didn't use a large enough fuel line, and it dumped v-e-r-y v-e-r-y- slowly! If you rolled along at maybe 20mph the fuel might get transfered before you needed it. :-) The 3/8 fuel line was NOT sufficient for a gravity set up... If I was to do a gravity setup again I would use at least a 1/2" line. 3/4 " would be even better.

I Built the adapter for the filler neck yesterday afternoon and then Culled some more 'stuff' off the rig... before I had to run over to the store to take Heidi to an Agility practice... she's headed off to a Trial Thursday morning.... Back to Utah.

This stuff where she gets to go off on the road and I have to stay here has got to stop! :-(

Still conjuring on which-a-way I'm going to do the auxilliary fresh and waste tank system I'm trying to get designed.... hmmm..... probably shouldn't have waited until the last two or three weeks before we hit the road to do the work on tanks that have to get shipped in from California huh?

Well.... I told you I'd tell you about all the DUMB things I do right? :-O

I'm going to go now and get all my ducks organized in a nice neat row... while I'm waiting on Heidi to bring my truck back!

Until I get back remember.... You can't blame a worm for not wantin' to go fishin'!

August 9, 2007 18:20 - The Hurrieder I Go ... the Behinder I get

Making progress with the aux tank install.... you can see it if you draw a chalk line around me so you can see that I moved!

DOH! I got a little ahead of myself... or out of sequence... depending on how you want to look at things. I had to pull the forward, top opening storage/tool boxes, so that I could get access to bolt down the tank. It took a little modification of the mounting tabs, as well, to squeeze it in... but I got it set.

After taking a chunk of the morning to haul Heidi to her 'departure point' for her Agility Trial this weekend, and wrassling with those toolboxes... and then diverting myself to finish an improvement to our Dog Deck, I didn't manage to finish the tank install.

The Dog Deck improvement was to add a ramp to the road side. The dogs don't have any trouble jumping up in, but we decided that coming back out they were hitting the ground awful hard. A couple of times we thought we saw Buck 'gimpin' for a few steps....

To put it in perspective, it's sort of like you or I jumpin' off the roof of my Fifth Wheel or your Motorhome... I know how big a "SPLAT" I'd make! :-) so I finally figured out a clean little ramp that drops down and provides an intermediate point that cuts the distance they have to jump, nearly in half.

dog deck ramp

Here is the ramp in the folded position... there's a little hook and eye latch on the right side.

dog deck ramp

With the ramp down they have an intermediate point to jump up or down.

Well... after I get back from the dentist in the morning I... Hope... to complete the fuel tank. Only have to hang the pump, install the pickup tube, cut the 'fuel level sensor' hole and install it, install the filler neck adapter I built, and run the fuel line... and the switch wire, install the switch... and then look around for what I forgot!

All this acitivity makes me think of some words of wisdom... I reckon hard work never killed anyone... but why would you want to take a chance of becoming the first victim?

Take care

August 11, 2007 06:12 - Almost there.... with the aux tank install

Geez.... if I get any slower you can start calling me 'Reverse'.

The tank is in. The fuel line, filler neck adapter, gauge sensor, wiring and switch case...

Tell you what, rooting around in the rocks and gravel ain't as easy as it used to be! I almost had to use the outside shower too! I was about as grubby as I could get.... Bet the neighbors would have liked that huh? Sexy 'almost' senior citizen that I am :-)

But, after sliding around under the truck for a good while running those lines (fuel and elec) all that stuff is in and secured in a manner that shouldn't get burnt by exhaust pipe or cut by anything.

Should have seen me trying to get the wires poked through the firewall.... hanging over the fender with my feet kicking the air.... arm stuck down into a maze of wires, tubes and lordy knows what.... doing it all by feel, 'cause I can't see... not one thing...hoping I didn't get bit by something!

Any way it's all in now... except for the fuel pump switch. The wires were run and I was waiting for the adhesive I used to secure my custom made switch case to set up. Went to where I had put the switch down on the tailgate and poof! pffft! ZAP! .... GONE!

I crawled under the truck... over the truck... through the truck.... walked circles around the truck.... cussed, cursed and jumped up and down.... did the same thing in and around the fifth wheel.... NO SWITCH!

I knew the dang thing hadn't got no legs.... and NOBODY had been around... just gone.... so finally I was just about to call it quits for the day, and opened the trash can lid inside the fiver to throw away a bit of trash.... guess what was laying right on top? Yep.... How did it get in there?

Right then I decided, I... WAS... done for the day! :-)

Next three days I'm back at the farm/hardware store.... down to my last couple weeks. Have not had anymore word from the realtor... no news at this point is good news....

Got word from Heidi last night... The agility trial is going well ... her team got qualified for the NADAC National show in Scottsdale in November.... had a really good run, taking second place... beat only by a trio of 'Top' National dogs.
They're pretty happy.

Only rub is the miles.... here I talk about going slow..... and then in the first eight weeks of our 'Freedom' we'll be running from Colorado.... to New Jersey for the first of October.... hopefully getting in some of New England... and then have to run all the way back to Arizona for the NADAC National the First of November.....

Do as I say... and not as I do.... and I reckon you'll be much happier!.... I hope she starts getting into some trials that are a little closer together!

... Time is like a Cowboy.... always packing up and moving away

Hope the day treats you well

August 14, 2007 05:26 - Somedays are Diamonds.... some are Road Apples....

No news is good news?..... More likely it's a cougar stalking you....

Ten days from the end of this two year ordeal, the Bank cut the legs out from under us. I have to class bankers with lawyers and politicians....

Apparently I didn't ask the right questions when we interviewed our buyers banker in June. The dirtbag claims innocence, but now we get a completely different story... as of yesterday. "Everything is Different" they say....

Yeah right... not by the degree he's talking... That can only be explained by incompetence, greed, deciept or some combination of all those. Either way... our buyers got mislead, and in my hunger to be on the road, I allowed myself to be decieved as well.

Lie to me once, shame on you... Lie to me twice, shame on me.

Our 'closing' which as of last week was 'just fine, is now, totally, a dead deal.... our buyers are badly burned and sickened by their losses... our plans are in tatters.... no winners in this deal... and... ALL... due to Bankers predatory lending schemes.... I guess we're now just part of a National scandal and crisis.

The house sale was required to put our plans in motion... so it's back to square one... with a whole busload of complications....

The next few days will be spent trying to salvage something out of the deal.... or Cowboy Up and find some new way to get around this latest roadblock, set up by the beast....

Whoever came up with the idea that houses are some sort of asset, as far as I'm concerned, was some sort of sadistic con man. They're a misery to build, a slave master to maintain, and a nightmare to escape from. If I can ever get loose from this real estate prison, I will ... never.... ever.... allow myself to get conned back into it.

I truly hate it when the 'system' gets me to feeling this dark... I much prefer a good laugh, a high mountain meadow, and friends I can place trust in.

We have our truck and trailer... we have each other... and we have, until we can figure out some way to unload the dang thing... that house.... Considering the situation of others in this world, I don't suppose I have a whole lot to complain about.

There were a pair of profane sayings we had in the army... SNAFU.... and .... FUBAR

I can't think of a better description of this deal!

As I sit here, the sun is starting to rise in the east. With a little help, maybe this day will be better than the last.


August 15, 2007 07:21 - Road Apples ain't that Bad

Road Apples don't taste so bad when you can wash 'em down with all the words of wisdom and support we've gotten.

Many, many thanks.

We were really down, sick feeling, right at first. Now, with a day or so to digest it, we're real dissappointed but we'll get by this twist in the trail.

You know, there's a cowboy story where two hands went to town on a toot. Went up and down whiskey row till the wee hours and then saddled up and headed back for cow camp. Well, the devil jumps out and tells 'em he's there to gather in their souls.

Them Cowboys tell him: "Devil 'Ol son, you're in for a hell of a fight!" They rope him, head and heels, and stretch him out tight, notch his ears and brand him up a bunch. Then they tie a bunch of knots in his tail and leave him a hollerin', necked up to a Black Jack Oak. :-)

Well if that Ol' Devil thinks this little 'bump' is gonna shut down this Ol' hand.... I've got a real nice rope! and just itchin' to do some brandin' !

It's already taken longer to get loose than I'd wanted... but some way, some day, we'll be rollin'.

The words of support and friendship we've recieved from all the good folks here make that wait much more tolerable, and in the end, the Freedom we're heading toward, so much sweeter.

Many Many Thanks

August 16, 2007 07:29 - Sharpening my Pencil ... as life goes on.

So... my good friend Mike calls... says he knows a banker that might give me some insight into this bit of 'dealing' we're in....

Well, any bit of new info is info I don't have now so....

I call the number.

A man answers the phone: " Hello,This is Sean in the Psych ward at "blankety blank" hospital... may I help you?"

Mike you $@#% !!! .... accidental wrong number he gave me... just one digit off.... but it couldn't have been a more perfectly built 'Mike' prank if he had planned it!

On a better subject, I got the Auxiliary Transfer Tank install done. Check it out and see what you think. I believe I have the switch perfectly placed to avoid any 'forgetfulness' on my part.

The 'professionals' have been twisting their numbers this way and that trying to repair their screw up.... No matter how you write them you can only take so much out of a bank account ... and that's the rub. They told these women that they could qualify... if they sold their house in Washington, paid off some other debts etc.... The gals did exactly what they were counseled to do... and then told that they were 25% short.... then we were told that the 'programs' they were going to use 'disappeared'....

Um... excuse me.... but there are NO programs that will make up for a 25% difference in debt/income ratio... even a wore out Ol' twister like me knows that. It don't take a 'pro'.... those guys will be lucky if the gals don't get one of them nasty, bull dog lawyers to start a barbeque!

My problem was I didn't get into specific numbers when we interviewed the... so called... Banker. I only asked: "If they do these things, will they qualify?"... His answer was "You Bet.".... That's where I made the fatal assumption....That the 'You Bet' meant the numbers were in the right place.... Not 25% off! OOPS! My Bad!

So... when talking to bankers, in the same situation... Don't trust that THEY know what they're about. Ask for the specifics!

I've sharpened my pencil... wore out four of 'em. There's a thin window we just might wiggle this rig through. I hadn't wanted to lease the house... but we may be able to do that and still depart on our .... NEW LIFE.

It would require some good Old Cowboy Frugality and putting a high shine on my Boondocking skills... but it just might could still get done.... the next week or so should tell... If it was just me... I'd be gone already.... Heidi is not quite the risk taker I am. :-)

A wiser man than I once wrote: The best sermons are lived... not preached

Maybe it's time for me to Cowboy Up and get it done....

The sun is shining, no one is shooting at me... there's diesel in the truck... life is good.... it really is.

August 17, 2007 07:27 - Mountain Air

We decided that a 'Healing Circle' was needed.... so we loaded the 'kids' (Lily and Buck, our Australian Shepherds) fired up Big Red, and headed for the mountains.

Nothing heals a sore spirit for me like a high mountain meadow. We took a double dose too, starting our circle up through Poudre Canyon. Don't know what it is in that canyon. It's not spectacular... but something about it makes it one of the prettiest places in America for me.

Rolling along trying to see how little diesel we could burn, climbing up through the canyon we realized: " Hey, I got the munchies!" so we stopped at 'Rustic' for some road food....

A few miles farther on, we pulled off at a trailhead, up near the top of the canyon, and took the dogs on a bit of a romp. Threw the frisbee for Buck.... the pups haven't had much of an opportunity for much free running since we left the place, so they enjoyed the freedom....

Buck took a swim in the mountain clear water of the good sized stream flowing by. That was OK. He's starting, at 2 1/2, to like the water.... but the next water he chose to 'swim' in was more of a bog, on the way back to the truck...

Hmmmm..... stinky, bog soaked dog for the rest of the day... NICE! :-) Good thing we've learned to keep an old towel in the truck....

Got to road test the new auxiliary fuel tank. Worked perfect... sweet! I feel pretty high grade now!

Crossed over Cameron Pass into North Park and rolled past thousands of acres of big round bales and curing hay ready to be baled. Nothing like a fresh, big haystack to give a rancher a sense of security. His cattle are fed for another season.

Grand Lake is one of our favorite little 'Tourist Trap' towns. Old Timey boardwalks, lots of flowers, little shops of everything from genuine junk to fine goods. The mountains all around.

There's a BBQ place there we eat at occasionally. The Sagebrush BBQ.... not four star... but I don't choke on it either! .... some folks claim that I wouldn't recognize bad food unless there was something crawling around in it... so you're going to have to make your own decision!

Big Red carried us on over the divide, through Rocky Mountain National park and home. 10,000 feet plus, in the Rockies always lifts my spirits.

Up near the top the Elk Bulls were cleaning the velvet off their antlers. Quite a few big boys getting ready for their fall romancing. Awsome.

Considering recent 'events' just what we needed. Got to chew over our options as we drove along enjoying the mountains.... and we think we have whittled out a palatable solution... but shhhh... don't tell no one.... It's going to take a few days to work it all out.... keep your fingers crossed.

Whew! I've really had my 'wind' up the last few days huh? I'll give it a rest for a bit.

Oh yeah... I said I was trying to see how 'little' diesel we could burn? Started out in Fort Collins at 19.7mpg ... up through Poudre Canyon.... over Cameron (10,000 ft +).... down through North Park and up over the top again in Rocky... (10,000ft + again) and back down to Fort Collins. When we pulled in last night the readout was sitting square on 24.0 .... 37,000+ miles on the odometer. I love this truck!

No matter who says what... don't believe it, if it don't make sense (something I'd better pay more attention too!)

Keep your powder dry.

August 19, 2007 21:11 - Can't quit now!... If we're to get out there RV Boondocking... there's work to be done.

There are times that all the baloney ya have to chew on, to deal with this world, can wear a man down. I often say: "I was born out of season. Should have come along in 1852.... not 1952!"

Only thing is... there's not one dang thing I can do about that. When it's all said and done... all I can do is... all I can do. I made some mistakes... not getting enough information before we accepted the deal... yadda yadda yadda... spilt milk. The sun has set on that day.

Can't change that. What I/we can do is take the pieces as they lay and rearrange them in a way that takes care of ourselves and those unfortunate women in the best way possible. Worryin' about what might have been at this point is like cussing' the captain of the Titanic.... it just ain't gonna accomplish much, other than getting your spleen in an uproar. I doubt he'll hear any more now than those fellas whose greed got us all into this 'situation'.

That's just what we're doin'. Whittlin' the best options we can out of what's left. We've presented a way that we think will preserve as much as we can, of our short term plans, and give them gals some time to maybe find a way forward for them.

With a mite of luck we'll have an answer in the next day or so.

My advice to anyone hoping to learn from watchin' me blunder along is two fold: First, don't wait for a better time to follow your dreams. I talked to a woman and her daughter this morning, at the hardware store. She and her husband were planning on goin' the same route as Heidi and I. He turned 58 in 2004. They were leaving the next year. He crossed over in 2006.... They waited too long to follow their dreams.

I turn a tender 55 Monday morning.... I have no intention of allowing a fancy talkin', paper shuffling banker, to twist what dreams I have left, for my life, into something I don't recognize... I've let that sort of thing go on for a bit too long.

It's come to me that the only folks who seem to profit by all of us bustin' butt.... are the bankers and the tax man... the rest of us only end up... with busted butts.

Second, and I'm not the one who came up with this: Simplify. We've been out of the house now for more than two months. Our possessions are whittled down to a fraction of what they were, and we continue to carve on them a bit.

We have a fine truck, a good fifth wheel, and a closet each of what clothes we need.

I feel better than I can describe. In spite of the real estate heart burn, I feel good. As soon as that's finally layed to rest... it's the sunny slopes for us!

The future is a shinin' hope and the past ... well.... it's but a memory.

Don't wait... carve out a way to chase your dreams, whatever they are. When you come to a roadblock, climb over it, drive around it... or crank up that chain saw and cut a hole in it.... Just... Don't... Wait. Yesterday is gone... Tomorrow is but a hope. Today is the only thing you have for sure. Do today, what gets you closer to that dream you have for tomorrow.

I hope to see you out on the boondocking trail, with a big ol' grin splittin' your face... following your dreams.

Take Care

August 22, 2007 08:16 - In Search of High Mountain Meadows

Still waiting on a response to our offer for the 'way forward' regarding our property. They're taking their sweet time stewing over their options... which in my mind are about as thin as my patience is getting! :-)

Hopefully, they'll make that decision soon... considering the existing contract expires day after tomorrow. Hard for me to not take a sharp stick an' start pokin' 'em. That, most often, ain't a real profitable activity though... so I'll try to push my patience a little further.

I appreciate all the comments of support we've recieved more than I can say without sounding all blubbery... many thanks.

In the meantime... life goes on. We're pulling out of our 'camp' in Fort Collins, for about three days, on Friday. Taking the Eagle up to Laramie for an agility trial. We'll have to come back to this 'camp' Sunday night.... and since I haven't left the part-time sellin' of nuts and bolts yet.... I get to run back and forth for a couple days...

So.... I'll stop at Safeway to pick up some cheese to go along with my whine. :-)

I suppose we'll stay here for another week or so after that... as we settle the house for a while, one way or another.

This turn of events has sent me to doin' a lot of thinkin' about my motivations. Took a hard look at the 'philosophy' of what I want to do....

It's more than just goin' wanderin' for a while. It's a deep down hunger for a simpler 'way of going'. Heidi and I have busted butt for as long as I can remember. Few times in all that 'work' have I found it very fulfilling. Mostly, just tiring. But it's how I was taught to go.

Pullin' a fresh calf, seeing colts in the pasture.... a tall stack of firewood, fresh cut in the fall... those things gave me a feeling of contentment... but I have to say, most of the work we get manipulated into and conditioned to do, are for the benefit of the 'man'... not us.

As we continue building for the future, where ever it takes us, I'm finding a much weaker attachment to 'things' and a much stronger hunger for quiet times and open country. My 'weight' continues to drop as I continue to 'dumpsterize' a few things here and there!

Never would have thought I had so much junk! Little bits and pieces keep appearing out of compartments and other nooks and crannies on the rig.... I give a couple people the opportunity to grab up these 'precious treasures' and if there are no takers.... Bang! .... dumpsterized they are! :-) I'm gettin' real good at it!

The thing is, as I've said before, the smaller my pile of possessions gets, the less I have obstructing my vision; The less I have to worry over; and the more time and energy I have to go about... LIVING.

I suppose it all boils down to that simple difference in what starts your motor.... things and $, or.... LIVING!

I'll go for the Shinin' Times of High Mountain Meadows, the Snake River, Yellowstone, and wondering what's over that next ridge, over a pile of 'stuff' I'll seldom use... that takes $$$ and weeks out of my life to maintain.... EVERY TIME!

I'll be watchin' for you in that High Mountain Meadow.

August 23, 2007 22:04 - Preparations for Heidi and Bucks Agility Trial and other bits and pieces

A busy day....

Headed up early for Heidi and Buck to take a private lesson with an international grade Agility Trainer. The lady has an indoor arena, specially outfitted just for agility training. It was a pretty fine tune-up coming just before the Laramie Trial... which we're heading for sometime tomorrow....

When we got back I dropped Heidi off at the store and I took off to chase errands and get some of my own work done.... a quick stop at Goodwill to unload some more 'cull' stuff... then by Home Despot.

I got a couple 2X10 planks cut into blocks for our stabilizers on the tail end of the rig. Ever since I had the axles flipped... the stabilizers wouldn't reach the ground.... since Heidi and I have been gettin' along so good lately.... she was afraid the neighbors might be knowin' when we were...ummm.... gettin' along.... :-) ...She insisted I get the stabilizers, stable!

So, I did! I now have a good stack of blocks so I can use the scissor style stabilizers again... and keep the neighbors in the dark 'cause the trailer ain't rockin' no more!

Also finally got my Hi Lift Jack mounted. It's a little job I've wanted to do for a good while, and just never got to it.

Hi Lift Jack Mount

I need it for lifting my Motorcycle Carrier into place when I load 'Slick'.

This will keep it from wandering off with some 'passerby', and in good shape. Better than being buried under all the other stuff in the bed of the truck.

Spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get the truck loaded.... too much junk... STILL!... and too little space :-)

Like I said.... were heading for Laramie tomorrow sometime... We were planning on going fairly early... but... our realtor called this afternoon... TWICE! .... 'stuff' seems to be happening... won't say more just now.... That dang fella Murphy has a way of causin' me grief, so I'll let it ride for now... but your good thoughts for us seem to be payin' off.

Well.... I'm off... hmmmm.... maybe we should 'test' those blocks under the stabilizers... :-)

When a fella is late for work, he should do the right thing and leave work early to make up for it!

It's Still... a By God Good Day to Be Alive

August 27, 2007 06:27 - Who said Murphy was an Optimist?

I think that fella is some sort of demon. What we thought was good news turned out to be just a nasty tease. Pair of fairly ignorant folks... blew up an' freaked out Sunday over a little trifle that makes no sense... some peoples kids!

So... I think I'll refrain from posting anything more about that gol durn house until we are on the road and it is sinking into my back trail. Seems like every time I open my mouth about it I just jinx something.

That, and I think the thing is turning my brain to mush, not to mention, ya'll have to be weary of the thing as well. So when it's finally gone I'll tell ya... until then... I'll just give that little ordeal a rest!

Good news of the weekend is Heidi and Buck had a fairly decent Dog Agility trial. Got, I think, three Q's (Qualifyin runs). They need just one more, in a specific class, to achieve their 'Master Agility Dog' certificate.... I guess that's a really good thing at this point for them. Seems all the folks they are competing with have all taken three years or more to get theirs... This show is the first anniversary of Heidi and Buck hitting the trial circuit..... can I say Heidi is just a little 'competitive'?

Other good news, on the subject of RV Tow Vehicle performance, is how that Big Red truck of ours is running. Hauling up to Laramie, going uphill from 5000 feet +- to 7000+, and somewhere around 70 miles we pulled in running 11.1 mpg.

Then, I commuted back and forth, bobtail, two circles to work, and pushed the average back up to almost 19 mpg..... When I hitched up last night to pull back to Fort Collins, we were sitting on 18.8

When we pulled in here at our ... hopefully temporary camp!... the milage had only dropped to 18.4 ! At one point it was down to 17.4 but I got it back up a mile! 18+ miles per gallon, pulling a 30 foot fiver is pretty darn fine where I come from! 225 miles, 1/2 up hill, 1/2 down hill running at 55 to 60 mph.

I could only be happier with that rig if it were owned by a fella... WHO DID NOT OWN A HOUSE! :-)

Now girls... I realize most of you have your eyes cross when us guys get to talking trucks, and transmissions, and diesel, and such.... but think of it this way.... give us our 'gear jammin' and we give you your shoppin' at Kohls!

Some things are good.... some things ain't.... The job is to figure out what you can change and what you can't; and to learn how to walk away from those things you can't do nuthin' about.... I guess I should just be satisfied with the fact that the Boss made me so purty!


August 29, 2007 10:31 - The Thinkin' Behind My Love of RV Boondocking

The recent events we continue to try to find a way around have caused me to re-evaluate my reasons for enduring the punishment. There must be a good reason if a fella is going to take a whuppin'. I've said it all before but it bears rehashing now and again to remind myself what it is I'm after.

My goal for my site has always been to hopefully inspire folks to work less and LIVE more. As always, it's a mite windy... but it gets to the core of 'why'.... I think.

I've chased the almighty American Dollar (mostly without success) a hundred hours a week. I've worked jobs I've detested... as well as those I've enjoyed, right down to my boots. Chasin' cows (which pretty much paid nuthin') was a joy. It was all done to do what I figured I was 'expected' to do.

Sort of a go along to get along idea; what we're all conditioned to do from the first day we fill a diaper. Be a good productive citizen... The question is - productive for who?

I'm here to tell you, for the most part, I think we all got conned. Cogitate on it for a while. Who benefits from all your slavin'? Subtract all the work you do that only benefits somebody else, and what do you have left? Eliminate all the work that only pays the tax man (and let's face it... we really don't get much back from that investment), the bankers interest; the work that pays for that 'Big House', most of which goes unused most of the time, and how much work do you have left?

Heck, there were - weeks - at a time that I didn't enter 50% of our old house. So why work for it?

Take away all the work 'Others' have talked you into doin'; the benefits of which go mostly, right straight to THEM, and there ain't much work left to do for your own actual needs is there? Put a sharp pencil to it and I think you'll find that in our system, a fraction of your work actually goes to true 'needs'.

Now, if you need a 45' Diesel Pusher... you're going to have to work harder than I do to support my six year old, 30' Jayco Fiver, but you get the idea.

OK, I did have to kick in a goodly amount for that Big Red Dodge... but I NEEDED it! :-) The fact is, my old '98 had a few hundred thousand miles left in it. I just wanted a fresh truck for our 'step-off' into Full-timing.

Thoreau said it best; "Simplify, Simplify, Simplify."

My choice for my "Simplification" is to live Full-Time in my Fifth Wheel, enjoy life, write about it and hope someone
on occasion will want to read the stories...

Not quite a minimalist approach but pretty frugal just the same. As time goes by, I continue reducing and distilling my possessions. The less I have, the less there is to maintain, support and worry about. I have no intention of getting into abject, monk like austerity.... but I don't need two closets full either!

I'm not going to blow sunshine up your skirt, and tell you: "Don't worry, it's easy." It's not. Nope. It's a hard piece of work. You have to go against everything you've been conditioned to think, for pretty much your entire life. It's tough, and early on, a bit scary.

Work for what you need, and walk away from the rest. Set up your affairs paying close, conscious attention to your needs. Do you really NEED that 'thing' or are you simply responding to a Madison Avenue Campaign? Organize your life so that it truly is... your... life; not just a profit center for some corporation or 'Big Brother'.

Now, I'm NOT saying get rid of ALL your possessions; just the ones that don't serve you. If, like me, you need your music (CD's) and your camera... by all means keep them. Hang on to those things that put some joy into your life. Get rid of those things which just fill space and create a burden you have to pack.

It's not an easy task, but it gets easier. I'd guess it's kind of like kicking an addiction. Those first few days are just awful. Watching all that stuff heading off to the dump, or Goodwill.... all that 'stuff' you worked so hard to get.... and seldom, if ever, used.

As the days pass, and your burden gets lighter, you get better at it. You get stronger. You start to see clearer and your lips, usually compressed into a thin line; as you contemplate all the work you've got to get done today; start to curl into a smile, as you find you now have the time to stop and watch that Osprey bring her fledglings their breakfast.

Heck, I'll bet you didn't even know that nest was there 'before'. Go ahead. Stop and watch. Don't feel guilty. That's the 'system' talkin'. Tell it to be quiet and that you'll be there when you get there! :-)

Have you ever read Helen and Scott Nearing's work? They wrote a book, a long time ago, back in the 30's or 40's I believe, titled: "Living the Good Life". It was their assertion that, what they called 'Bread Labor', should only take an average of 4 hours a day. The rest of the time should be spent on art, writing or some other personal pursuit that fed the spirit. They thought you could even pack those hours into fewer days (ie. work 8 hours a day for a while) to allow you to take a week or a month 'off' at a time, for some personal pursuit.

THAT is exactly what Heidi and I are doing. We can't afford to 'retire' and I don't want to anyway. I like working.... if it's something that feeds the spirit. But I like hiking, photography, writing, and my motorcycle more. I want more time to enjoy LIVING. I believe that a person shouldn't have to wait until he's old and decrepit to LIVE.

If a person sets his life up right.... he/she should be able to LIVE, the way I'm sayin', and the way the Nearings said a long time ago, from the time he/she starts workin'. I calculate it's a whole lot easier to do it from the get go, then to try and clear up the mess of doin' it wrong for so long; as I'm doin' :-)... but... that's life in the west!

Worryin' about what I did wrong ain't gonna shine up tomorrow... learning from yesterdays mistakes... now, that's a whole differrent thing.

A couple of old ideas that help. I've said 'em before, but here they are again;

Adopt an "Add one piece - subtract one piece" routine. If I buy a new shirt... I discard one. Add a cup - Lose a cup. The other 'big' one is to go through your rig/house. If you haven't used 'something' in the past six months or a year... chances are you never will. Do you really need it? Sell it, give it away, donate it to the city dump. Take that burden off YOUR back.... unless maybe it's a fire extinguisher. That's something you want to have... but never use!

A word of caution:

Don't trade your existing burden for a fanatical, save every possible penny, consume your spirit worrying about being frugal, NEW burden. Develop a comfortable, easy, casual, routine, way of going. Then, go out and LIVE!

I warned you, once again, I was feeling windy!

There's a philosophy I heard around the ranches, a long time ago. Took a while for me to really understand it, simple as it is: Keep shy of any source of income that will deprive you of your personal liberties.

Enough wind for one day

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