Friday, December 3, 2010

Next update post -Grin- this will bring it up to date :)

Mornin folks, another beautiful day up here in the high country :)

Ok, time to get this caught up to current...   Lets see.. I had bought the land and would be able to park the big truck and no longer worry about driving illgally.. 

well, in order for that to work, I had to have options for resupply of water and food now and then.. I have the bike, but best case scenario that way, I would have to run in weekly for water.  While that wouldnt be terrible, there would very likely be times when I just didnt wanna do that.  And, if I needed to replace some of my bulk food items, then water wouldnt be possible to do on the same run, so would have to do additional runs..   I decided that I needed yet another vehicle!!  so much for being a minimalist here!

Spent a few weeks browsing craigs list, Ebay, Sierra Auctions, and a few other sites..  there were some nice trucks out there but nothing that seemed like it was just right..  I eventually decided I didnt need a 4X4, I could do without a cammy paint job, I could do without a 6" lift (yeah, I found some that had all that and more)  and all I could really justify spending was 3500 or so, and that was higher than I would want to go if possible..

I ended up finding a 2006 Ford Ranger STX on Ebay, in the Phx area for 3500, and drove the bike down to the valley to pick it up and bring it home. ;)  Little did I know how interesting that day would become....

On the morning of the trip down, got up early (actually used an alarm!) jumped on the bike.. No start :(   Pulled the seat off, hooked up my small bank of solar panels and waited.. and waited.. and waited..  would get enough charge to turn it over, but the bike hadnt been used since I left CA, so fuel wasnt in the system yet, and it would drain down before enough got there to start it..  Had to break out the starting fluid that I bought for the truck when it was cold...  well, I got on the road about 8, 2 hours later than I initially intended.   The Drive down was really nice, started out in full leathers up here at 6600 Ft elevation, rolled through St Johns, Concho, Show Low, Seneca, Globe, into Apache Junction.  Bike ran great, and when I stopped for fuel, kicked right back up.  Probably will need to replace the battery though this coming spring, it's still the original '07.
Got to my friend John's house, who is kind enough to let me park the bike there, and he and I took off to pick up the truck (bought on ebay, mistake on my part).  Got into Phoenix about 1pm and got to the place to pick up the truck, looked good, talked to the gentlemen a bit who was selling it, looked at some classic vehicles he was restoring, was thinking everything was going to be good.. this guy obviously knew vehicles!
Jumped in the tuck to head home and all was working fine... Untill I got about 100 miles out of Phx, to the town of Payson Az.  Stopped to run into a restroom and when I came back out, the truck was a no start, it was a little after 5pm, and Payson is a small town.. called the dealership in town, closed, called a couple repair shops.. closed.. stress started rising.. Tori was home at the truck alone, night was coming on, and my nights get a bit chilly..  Finally, after about 8 calls, had someone give me a number to a mobile repair service... Luckily, he was still in his truck, and could come my way, so figured I had dodged a bullet and would be on the road in short order! :)

Boy... was I mistaken...  He got there after about a half hour, started diagnosing the problem(s) and we eventually got it running...  then I heard him say "crap".. looking at the tailpipe, there was a pretty hefty stream of water coming out..  Opened the radiator, and you could smell the exhaust..  Blown Head gaskets..

That wasn't something that could be casually repaired in a few minutes...  he told me that if I watched the temp, with night coming on, I could run it home to St Johns, if I was careful..  and I was tempted, but that wouldn't get it fixed.  Made a phone call to my folks, who I thought were at the cabin (30 miles away) and found out they were back in the Phx area...  In spite of that, they jumped in thier vehicles and brought me up my Dad's Jimmy, so that I could get home and get Tori taken care of, and I could use the Jimmy for a week or so till the repair was done.  I absolutely hate to rely on others for help, or to feel like I am beholden to anyone... but they saved my butt big time, and I wont forget it :)

Ok, so all working as well as can be expected at that point, figure a week and I'll run back down and pick up my truck (which I was less happy with at this point) and get back to a normal life of laying in supplies for the winter and adjusting... yeah.. I do like to fantasize dont I?  :)  Talk to the mechanic the next morning, and get a top end repair estimate of 1900, but after he looked at it he figured it could so it cheaper, and the only part he couldn't price out for me was the machinist to fix the heads them self.. Ok, told him to go ahead and roll with it, and would wait to hear from him...  One week... Two weeks...  call.. Machinist has been sick... Ok, I can understand that I guess.. Three weeks... Four weeks.. Machinist broke a tool and has to get a replacement.. Oh, and got sick again...  Five weeks... I Drive down to Phx in my folks truck to return it to them, and will hang out at thier place till I get mine back...  Another week passes and my truck is finally ready!!

Drive back up with the folks to get it, Pick up the truck, cost, 1500..  so now my 3500$ truck is up to 5k..  Will it work from this point on?? 

So far, so good drove the 170 miles home after picking it up, ran smooth and regular!  so stress is about gone now, and will start settling in :)

On the plus side, while I was gone a cold snap came through, temps in St Johns (30 miles south) were hitting lows of 3 and 4 degrees for a week, and  missed it all!  Will see what the rest of winter brings, but I feel content here and at peace :)  Probably will make a run into either Gallup, or Show Low Az, soon for some styrofoam sheet insulation, and a water refill, but for the most part, this is where I Be!!

OH, and I should put a pick of the truck here, so you know what I was getting :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beautiful day :)

Mornin folks! guess it's time to start updating and bring this current..

First off, left the hosting job mid summer.. didnt make it through the entire time at the campground, was a bit to remote for me, and in spite of the remote location, was too busy!! when I think of remote, I think of seeing Ooo.. maybe 10 people a week.. this was much busier! and when I was having people knocking on my truck at 6am, or having to get up at 4am to have folks shut down generators.. well, I decided I needed more me time than I was getting there, so came back to the Arizona highlands :)

spent the summer floating along the 'rim' in Arizona, and was enjoying my time, looking forward to the winter and meeting with everyone in Quartzite again.

Then one day, parked outside of Heber, Az. I got an email from my insurance company.. seems they do a review of all policies before they come up for renewal.. and I was informed that they would not renew my policy on the vehicle because I was using it as a camper.. I had told them I was when I started the policy!! but now I had a time bomb ticking in my life, and the stress started to go up. I checked with the companies RV division, and was informed that they couldnt insure it as an RV because it was titled as a commercial vehicle. I checked with the State, about getting it titled as an RV and the modifications not only would have cost a couple thousand, it would have made the vehicle unsuitable to the uses I needed (no room to haul the bike).

So, after a few weeks of thinking about that.. I decided my options were either buy a real RV and truck to tow it, or find a place to park... I discovered some land auctions that werent far from where I was, and decided to go look at land in northern Az.

Long story short.. I picked up 20 acres for 3500$ and now I no longer need to worry about keeping the truck on the road (the big one, but more on that later).

I dont have an address yet (county is working on creating one) I dont have a driveway, I dont have neighbors closer than a couple miles, I have peace and quiet virtually all of the time, and I have room for people to park if they come visit! But be aware, the nearest town is 30 miles away and doesnt have much there I'm in the boonies! I do get a good cell phone signal where I'm parked, and most places when I'm out walking. I think I'll be happy here.

Pic from where I often sit to read.. you can see for 70 miles when it's clear :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pokes his head in..

-looks around-.. wow.. quiet isnt it :)

it will get better soon.. I can feel it!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Lesson Learned?? I’m hoping so!!

Morning my friends :)

I had a friend in the past that used to live by a bunch of hardcore bikers… she told me that one of the things they said is that there are 2 kinds of bikers.. those who have laid down their bikes, and those that were still going to.

I had always discounted that saying, feeling somewhat superior.. I had never laid down my bike, and Never planned on it!!!  why, since I hadn't made a bad decision in riding the bike, was I preordained(or predestined) to make a bad decision and end up laying it down??  I didn't accept that premise :)  Perhaps those hardcore bikers knew a thing or two I didn't…

Yesterday, on my way from my campground to Clovis Ca.. I laid down the bike going around a corner..  Came into the corner to fast.. was a side road coming into the main at that point, and a lot of sand had been tracked onto the asphalt..  tried to slow down before I hit the sand, but once I got into it, could feel both wheels sliding and knew I was leaving the roadway.. 

surprisingly, I kept my head enough to actually look to the ditch on the side of the road and decide how I wanted to handle the situation.. managed to keep good control of the bike as I left the road, and tried to keep it upright as long as I can, but the ditch was soft sand and it just took the bike down in no time.. I remember thinking that '”this should hurt more than it does” as I was sliding with the bike..  didn't take long will we came to a stop.. I pulled my leg out from under the bike, stood up, said to myself, “pick the bike up now while the adrenaline is flowing”, and got it stood up… then took off my helmet and took stock.

Karma, specifically, GOOD Karma.. must have been in abundance…  I am fine!!  a little sore today, but I’ve been worse just from lifting things at work!  The bike?  it’s fine as well.. haven't looked today, but no big scratches that I’m aware of, it fired right up yesterday after I got back on the bike, and then I put another 150 miles on it, no problems, no hiccups at all!!  Helmets not even scratched!

Lessons learned.. I am so thankful that I was in leathers.. so thankful that I had the Helmet and gloves on as well, Grateful that neither I, nor my bike were damaged in a way that will impact the future.. and grateful to have been given the chance to learn about overdriving a stretch of road…

sometimes, at least for me, Caution needs to be reinforced…  This reminder was the best one I can remember!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I thought I knew..

There was a time in my life when I thought I knew things…  In fact.. I was positive I knew things.. I would go so far as to argue with others and defend the things I thought I knew…

for instance.. I knew, that June was a hot month, and just something to be gotten through (taken June 8th, 2010)IMG_0957

yes, that is snow <grin>

I knew I was going to continue to work for municipalities until I could draw retirement.

I knew that when I retired I would just park myself in front of a computer and play online games.

I’ve Known.. many times, that I was in love, and that this person, or that was the one I was going to spend the rest of my life with..

Turns out.. I didn't know much :)  I thought I did.. I was doing the  best I could at the time and trying to hold it all together…

well.. here I go again.. I know something now!!!  I know that this place is beautiful, I know that unless something untoward happens in life, I will be returning..  only time will tell how right I am on those two :)

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the Hard Life of a Host!

Howdy folks ;)  this is just a quick note to let folks know I’m fine and healthy :)  Adjusting to my camp hosting job, and overall I think it’s going to be a very good experience for me..  last weekend was the opening weekend for my campground, and had 36 folks in for the weekend.  Spent alot of time talking with them, trying to learn what they know about the area so I can pass it on to others as they come in.. learning what bait is working for the fishing, where the good trails are, that kind of thing :)

not keeping score.. but so far have been offered fresh fish from 3 different campers.. both Rainbow and Brown Trout, had a gentleman that was up with his son and grandson bring over half of a peach pie that they couldn't finish, and tonight had homemade Ice cream that some campers made and walked up to me <grin>   it’s a hard life aint it!!

Off tomorrow, so loading the laptop in my backpack and headed to where I can find a signal to get email, and send this update out..

but I’m good here, love the area, and looking forward to next year!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Meetings of Equals..

You know.. Ok.. maybe you don't –Grin-

there's a certain comfort in hanging out with people that understand you and don't question your sanity.. well.. not more than they do their own  -Grin-

In Pahrump Nevada at the moment, and have had the great fortune to be parked with a group of like minded souls..  There's Brian and Stella (his furry companion), Bob and Homer (HIS Furry companion), Kate and Mutt (Her furry companion), Wayne, PJ, Charlene, Cheri (and her NEW as yet unnamed furry companion).  with recent departures of Brian K ( and Dina, his furry companion) and Paul.

We all think the same to a great degree.. all seem to be interested in similar things, and above all we ACCEPT each other unconditionally!!  it’s a wonderful thing to know that you can be just who you are and not have to worry about being judged!  I’ve searched for that kind of thing for a long long time!

Probably will hang here a few weeks, then work my way closer to Fresno Ca.  Bikes unloaded, towns 2 miles away, and I'm in open desert with snow on the mountains both to my east and west…   to steal a quote from Charlene.. Life just doesn't get any better than this.. at least until tomorrow!

Past due update :)

First off, my apologies for not being more regular here.. there are downsides to having regular internet capability!!  rather than write up posts, I do active email and other things.. that may change over the summer while I’m working as a camp host in California.  I’ll try to be a bit more regular in the future!

Lets see.. the last post was about a windy day and how to spend it, so that's taken –Grin-  today it’s still windy (though it did stop between now and then)  it’s rainy and on the cold side.. 

I’m currently parked in BLM land just outside of Pahrump, Nv.  Ended up Fleeing from Arizona when it started getting to warm..  but thats getting ahead of myself here!

I left the slabs area in Ca to head back to the Phoenix area for a family function.  My mother was being given an award in the town the family has lived in for ages, and wanted to make sure that I was there for the celebratory dinner!  it was a wonderful night.  One of the Arizona congressmen that serves that area was in attendance, as well as the Maricopa county Sherriff, in addition to many years worth of town Mayors.. dinner was ok, but the company was great :)

After that, Ran to my friend Johns to install the second solar panel on the roof of the truck, then escaped to Nevada :)

Solar Upgrades!

howdy folks, Passing on info about my power system in the truck, While going through the winter in Quartzsite and the Slabs, I started to consistantly run into lack of power issues.. with the winter sun staying lower in the sky, the amount of power my little 60watt array just wasnt cutting it on some days to even charge the laptop back to full power, and that got really frustrating to me.  So after talking with some folks about options for power, I decided to bite the bullet and spend money I didnt want to in order to upgrade my solar system.

This is what I ended up with.

1) a pair of Trojan T 105 batteries, 6 volt by 225 ah, wired in series to make it a 12v storage system.

2)  BZ500 charge controller, Able to handle up to 500 watts of panels, is an MPPT controller, so can boost the amount of charge it delivers to the batteries

3) 2 205 watt solar panels from Sunelec.com  They have a Phoenix warehouse, so I saved on shipping charges by driving back to Phoenix to pick them up myself.

While deciding on the equipment I would get, I was also trying to determine a mounting method to keep them on the roof and hopefully undamaged by freeway speeds and trees!  I initially considered putting up brackets and sheets of plywood and mounting the panels to the plywood, but something about that just never really sat well with me.  I could see the plywood wobbling back and forth in the wind going down the freeway, and I couldnt think that would be good for the panels..

One day.. THE day that I was going to buy the wood and work on mounting them with my friend John, I just happened to be floating around in the Isles of Home depot, and came upon the chain link fencing section.. I had talked to a welder at one point about using Angle iron to build a rack for me, but he said that the round pipe would be much stronger than angle iron.. so here I am in Home depot, looking at the selection of fencing pieces.. and low and behold I had my solution!

I picked up enough pieces there to mount the panels on the roof using fence poles, and the various connectors they use in fencing!  then headed to my friends to begin the work.

It took us a little bit to figure otu exacly how we wanted to do it, but in an hour or so had one panel mounted on the roof and ready to roll.. for the sake of prudence, we only mounted one to make sure that the way we had done it would be fine, and I kept the second panel in the back of the truck.. Well, the mount worked just fine, and for the first time I could be stealth parked with full power in the city!  It Is so nice to be able to have the radio on, or watch a Dvd and not have to worry about recharging the system without running the truck!!   I let that one set a couple weeks, then with no modification, mounted the second panel using the same setup.. now, on a sunny day, from a half charge on my batteries, I’m at float level by 9am :)  and with today being cold and rainy in heavy clouds, I’m on the pc, with the radio on, and the charge is reading 13.0v.. not at float, but maybe later in the day I’ll get there..

To celebrate, went to a goodwill store and picked up a 450 watt microwave.. have only used it a couple times, but if I’m in sun, the panels do a good job of keeping up with it while it’s in use!  so my life is getting a little more convenient.. Since I’ll be working over the summer, one of my early checks will go to a 12 volt cooler, so I can have more variety as well then :)

Overall, I’m doing well, sometimes restless still, but it’s even harder now to imagine going back to a conventional life :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Basking in the power of the Sun!

both literally and figuratively :)

This past week I picked up 2 205 watts solar panels from Sunelectric in Phoenix.. Dont have them mounted on the roof yet, still debating how I want to do that, but I'm sitting out in the desert, with them leaning up against the side of the truck, and all my past power concerns are GONE!

I will probably get additional house batteries in time, but my pair of t105's is doing a great job.. if I get desperate for more power, I have the 2 starting batteries in the truck which I've converted to deep cycle as well, and have a switch right by the inverter to make them all a single bank!!

I think the next upgrade I can feel coming on is a microwave if I have this power, would be a shame not to use it!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

the Perfect use of a windy day!

Well, Windy days aren't my favorite things ya know… but there are some uses that are pretty good!!  I broke out my Kites and gave it a whirl on the high wind days we had Sunday :)

My kites are called Trilby’s, and they are able to link together, you can fly them separately, or connect up a chain of them.. this is the first time I’ve had enough wind to do a threesome!

As you can tell from the pics, I’m wearing heavy leather gloves, and my hands were still aching!  they really have a pull to them!  But I enjoyed the time spent, and did ok with maneuvering them!  they are a double line kite, so you can steer them to a degree!

Thanks to Charlene for the pics!

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Greetings from Mitry lake :)


The first picture is the view of the lake from the hill behind my camp.. my truck is a very small white dot on the bottom section :)

A view of the western part of the lake, it's a smaller portion than the main body


the view from my chair in camp.

just sharing a pretty good location with you folks and a few pictures :) it might be slow loading so please bear with it!!

Just north of Yuma, about 7 miles off of Highway 95, there is a reservoir called Mitry lake, it's BLM, and has a 10 day a year camping limit, but it's worth stopping by while your in the area.

I'm here in February, so it's cool and comfortable, I imagine in the summer this place bakes, but for now the days are very comfortable and the nights are in the 40's. The shores of the lake seems to be almost completely grown with Reeds, there are fishing jetties in a few places and a pretty good boat launch for those that are more serious about their water-sports.. Large, or deep draft boats would be pretty risky though!

In my camping stop, which is on the first section of the road, before you even get to the boat ramp, backs right up to the water, and it would be a piece of cake to launch a small boat/kayak/canoe from the site itself.

For the most part, I've been comfortable here. I'm right next to the road in, so Tori has been on lead most of the time, most notable exception when we go hiking in the mountains right across the road.. then of course she's on her own. The days are pretty quiet if you can ignore the distant sounds of Tanks/artillery from Yuma proving grounds, and most of the time the water is smooth as glass :)

I think I'll be returning here about this time next year, in my mind I'm starting to form a pattern.. summer working with CLM, wintering in various parts of Az till I head back to work in May... but we shall see :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Force/Mass Equation lesson

Good mornin :)

last night I had the misfortune of being tutored in Force*Mass equations. the specific equation is S*bt=nc! Translation.. Semi * Box truck = No Contest...

while pulled into a truck stop for the night, I had the misfortune to be 'grazed' by the back wheels of an 18 wheeler.. My whole truck rocked, things were falling off the shelves... He didnt even notice :)

I climbed out of bed and went to talk to him when he got the rig parked, then together we looked at the damage, luckily, it's cosmetic, and everything still works the way it's supposed to.

He was very sorry about it, and offered to buy me dinner or a drink somewhere, I just asked him to keep us little guys in mind and accepted his apology.. no harm no foul :)

but I didnt sleep well the rest of the night waiting for the next thump!!

that might have been my last truck stop night.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Meeting Other Dwellers

 

Sorry I’ve been so lax in posting folks, the days seem to go quite quickly lately. 

I’ve been hanging out in the Quartzsite, Az area for the past 3 weeks..  came here for 2 reasons.  first, to see what there was to see at the rock show, and check to see if I could sell any of mine.. well.. the show was ok, and there was so much material that was better than mine, and for cheaper than I wanted to sell mine, that I decided it will have to be a hobby for now instead of potential income :)

The second reason was to meet up with others living in their vehicles and see if I could actually interact with folks to a degree.. that has been a very good success!  I’ve met a couple of great folks and in our interactions am learning more about myself and how to live this life comfortably.  I’m very glad that I came over.

It's also been good for Tori, she’s had the chance to interact with a human pack, as well as a few dogs, and I think she’s grown a bit with it.  I have told folks I am going to “the Slabs” in Ca, mid Feb., and I probably will, but then I’ll have to deal at least in part with new folks, and it’s hard to believe that it will go as well! .. my old confidence again I see –grin-.

At the moment, camped out near the town of Bouse Az.  I had never heard of it, and if you blink you drive right through, but have mail being sent there that I’m waiting for, and got tired of the crowds in Quartzsite.. it got nuts in there when the RV show got to town :)

Upgrading my life!

well, it finally happened… ran into someone that could answer the questions that I kept coming up with as to power.. 

so I’m in the process of upgrading my solar capacity!

Added 2 Trojan t-105’s yesterday, Had to replace my Inverter a week or two ago, have a charge controller on order to replace the one I dragged down the road back in august, and am awaiting an email from a vendor in Phx on blemished Solar panels… If I get a favorable answer from them I’ll be putting 400 watts on the roof!!

even just having the battery upgrade is making a world of difference, I can actually use lights and the computer in the truck now.. but when I truly upgrade I expect to be able to not worry about it at all.

Cant get Internet where I am now in the truck, so will walk up a hill tomorrow and check there ;)

Weather Event

in the truck at the moment, even though it’s plenty light outside…  Have a major series of storm systems rolling through the area, and it’s windy, cold and raining at the moment.  Supposed to be this way for a couple days/weeks.  So glad I upgraded my batteries!

Hopefully can send this out tomorrow, Trucks rocking in the wind tonight so far!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A wonderful Sunset…

yes I know.. I'm behind in a couple posts.. just haven't been in a writing mood lately.. but I DO want to share a picture or two..

will work on the other posts soon… Promise!!

last nights sunset from my camp :)

 

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