Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Handlebar Cam

So I took the new camera and the bike and the iffy knee out for a spin... a trial run for dash cam footage on the road.



Obviously, a brief ride around my complex isn't any more interesting than dunking the camera briefly in the hot tub.  I did learn some things about editing footage like this.  Next iteration will be to mount the thing in my car and drive around town doing errands.

Departure for NM is still set for next week Monday 4/6/2015.  The Beast is still at Buck's -- I should get it back tomorrow (Wednesday 4/1/2015 .)

Travel and credit card protection

Both of the banks who issued the credit/debit cards I use have protections in place which kick in when you travel.  A couple of hefty fill-ups on the same day at service stations outside your home area can look like fraud.  I once had a card refused for this reason and learned about how to avoid this.  You simply tell the bank when you'll be traveling, and where.  There's a place on the bank web site to do this, or you can call them if you like listening to canned music while on hold.

Simple.  I have to confess my initial reaction was annoyance, but it's a small price to pay for not having to untangle the complications of credit card fraud.  Thanks, banks!

I can't believe I just thanked a bank.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Underwater!

I know you've been eager for this ..


So there you have it.  After you watch this, YouTube puts up some random video which may or may not have anything to do with anything. I'm trying to figure out how to turn that off.

(I tried another way of showing videos: I uploaded the video file directly to the blogging software.  It was quicker than going through YouTube, but the quality was pretty dreadful.  I guess I'll go through YouTube mostly.  Sorry about the extraneous cruft.)


Stuff

The latest gadget:

2.2 ounces?! 
Tiny, huh?  I've known about Go-Pro cameras for a while, and my friend Steve uses one to shoot wonderful underwater videos.  They first came on the scene as "helmet cams" which people wore while skiing or skateboarding or whatever.  I think the generic name is "action cams."   Go-Pro's were less expensive than the usual video cams, but still not cheap... their current range tops out at about $400+.  This thing does about what a Go-Pro does, and cost me about $75.   Go on Amazon, or just search "SJ4000"on YouTube and you'll see the genre.  This one arrived yesterday.  It came in a nice rugged Cordura nylon carrying case with what I can only call a bewildering array of little pieces with which you can attach it to other things.  The most important of these was a plastic waterproof case:

4.8 ounces with case
This case is rated at 30 meters.  Steve uses his Go-Pro underwater with a case like this.  I mean, really underwater.  I haven't had the guts yet to dunk this in the hot tub ... but I've discovered that I'll be camped near some amazing-looking hot springs over in New Mexico, so who knows?

My main interest in cameras like this is not for underwater or action footage.  It's as a "dashcam."  Some of the various YouTube channels I watch have video sequences "from the road."  And as I was driving up to Flagstaff last weekend,  enjoying the transitions from Lower Sonoran to Pinon-Juniper to Transition life zones, I wanted to be able to document that and share it with y'all.   This is the gadget to do it, hands-free.  It's also gonna be good for projects like the ones a while back when I document repair or maintenance or whatever.   It has a little WiFi hub built in which pairs with my phone or tablet so I can see what it's looking at ... in case I want to put it up on the roof with Seamus the dog.  (Thanks, Mitt, for that enduring meme.)

It has a very wide-angle fixed focus lens, with the attendant distortion.  There are times when that's a distraction: It's not a general-purpose video cam. But it's always in focus, pretty much, and the underlying 12-megapixel sensor resolution means that the images are pretty darn sharp.   I'll put up some samples later today.  Maybe.  Don't hold your breath.

While Buck is working his expensive magic on major components like the axle, I've been thinking about living in the rig for extended periods, and what would make that comfortable and enjoyable. The chair (a while back) is a good example.

So I've been wandering the aisles of my Amazon wish list, where I store ideas for things I might need or want.  I've picked up a wand which can stick down underneath the toilet to direct a strong stream of water at the inside of the black water storage tank so the sensors aren't clogged with toilet paper and I get an accurate readout on how full it is.  Last trip I noticed a small rip in the flexible hose which connects the tanks to a sewage dump, so I got a replacement for that.  You've read about the LED bulb project ... I'm debating whether to replace the globe lights over the bathroom mirror with LED's.  I got a wood cover for the stove top which will make that into useful workspace when it's not being a stove, now that it has new bright LED illumination.  I'm trying again with a fitting which may make it possible to refill the little Coleman fuel bottles from my home BBQ tank.   I acquired a set of roadside reflector triangles in case of breakdown on the freeway.

These are small purchases, but they add up.  And I'm once again startled by how fortunate I am to be able to afford this.  I'm not driving a brand-new $200K diesel pusher; the Beast is a 1999 Ford van with delusions of grandeur.  But there's money stashed away in "savings" for the big repairs, and the small stuff and the gasoline to go places can be handled out of my retirement pension and Social Security.  I wonder how many of today's young families, making ordinary incomes, will be able to do things like this in their retirement. Am I -- are we -- the last generation for whom  that's even remotely possible?  I fear so.  What will my grandson Matt's life be like 70 years from now?


Friday, March 27, 2015

Here's the latest version:



I got in touch with my college roommate and friend Doug who lives in Los Alamos; he and Dotty will be in town while I'm "in the neighborhood" so I'll swing up there and spend a few nights getting caught up.   A lot has happened in our lives since we saw each other last. The overall trip looks like this, now:

Mon  City of Rocks 
Tues 7 do
Weds 8 do
Thurs 9 Near Gila Cliff Dwellings. "Scorpion campgrounds"  Visit “catwalk” near Glenwood NM
Fri 10 Armijo Spring campground (freecampsites.net)
Sat 11 Seviletta Natl Wildlife Refuge

Sun 12 to Los Alamos
Mon 13 In Los Alamos
Tues 14 In Los Alamos, or to Gallup en route to Flag Fire and Rock Casino (Or maybe at El Morro) 
Weds 15 To Flag area (?) 
Thurs 16 Flag area
Fri 17 Flag area 
Sat 18  Dan and Craig’s in Flagstaff 


Sun 19  Home to pick up Emma 

This may change between now and departure, or while I'm out.  I only have a few firm commitments: the reservations at City of Rocks, Doug and Dotty on the 12th,  a presentation I'm doing in Flagstaff on the 18th, and getting home to pick up Emma on the 19th.  The rest is kind of a sketch.

One of things I'm trying to learn here is a different way of traveling.  I'm to making reservations at motels and trying for maximum mileage per day.  All about the destination.  As I travel with the Beast, I'm wanting to learn to re-prioritize the journey.  It's a process.

I can't believe I just wrote that! *grin* 



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Next iteration


I've decided to more or less document the planning for this next trip, as much for my own benefit as yours.  But I'd sure welcome comments from folks who've visited these parts.

Here's the possible route as it stands this morning:



I'm leaving Tucson on Monday April 6, headed for City of Rocks state park in NM that night, leaving there on Thursday the 9th.  From there to Gila Cliff Dwellings (You'll have to zoom in on the leg of the trip which goes north from the intersection of NM 35 and 15.) Then to an apparently cool place near Glenwood, then up and over eastward to the Sevilletta National Wildlife Refuge. Things get less detailed from there, but I'm thinking about heading north to visit my college roommate Doug in Los Alamos and making my way back via Flagstaff.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Off we go!

Looks like spots at City of Rocks are a hot ticket!  One of the spaces that was available as of last night had been taken by this morning.

So ... I'm reserved there, arriving Monday April 6, departing Thursday April 9.  Three days.   I'm ambivalent about the reservation systems in use for state park systems like this: Arizona has a similar set-up.  On the one hand, it's nice to know there'll be a spot for me.  On the other, there's a $12 transaction fee for making the reservation on-line. NM has contracted with an outfit called "Reserve America" to provide this system.  I guess I'm OK with that ...

I'll figure out where I go after City of Rocks later.  This will at least get me out of here and on the road.  At the latest, I'll return to Tucson Sunday April 19th.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Not so footloose ...

My notion of wandering northward as I please turns out to have problems.

As the map indicates, I'm thinking of heading for City of Rocks state park in New Mexico my first night out.  They have a web site.  They have on-line reservations.  And they're about full up for the date(s) I had in mind.  Looks like I'll have to make a reservation and make up my mind pretty quick!

And the boondocking spots I was thinking of further north on state land?  Not open until May 1.

Hmmm.  Gotta think about this ... but not tonight.


Maybe

It now looks as though the soonest I can get back on the road is early April.   The complicating factor is work on the roof of my place in Tucson... but I'm looking at going out for 10 days/2weeks and being back in Tucson by about April 18th.  We'll see if the roofermen can work with that. I've blocked out April 6-18 for this trip.

I'm still learning how to embed "live" Google maps in this blog. The annoying text block in the upper left seems unavoidable -- but you can shift the map around to see the name of the northernmost destination at the Goosenecks overlook:



This is roughly what I have in mind.  None of this is cast in stone.  Some of it is familiar territory, in particular the area where I might turn around in SE Utah.  For several years I worked as a river guide up there, based out of Green River, and it's spectacular country.

Gas cost at $2.50/gal, 8 mpg: $362.  If I stay out 14 days: $25/day.   Gas costs seem to be going down again, for some inexplicable reason, and on some legs of this trip I might get better than 8 mpg, so this seems like a fairly conservative estimate.   I'm counting on a lot of boondocking and stays in state parks.  This is a pattern I'm thinking might be what I plan for longer, later trips, so we'll see what the costs actually are.

The Beast is currently at Bucks, so it should be all spiffy for travel in about this time frame.

I tackled a chore at the rig yesterday which has been on the list for some time.  The ceiling of the thing has a fabric finish rather like a short-pile carpet.  (They don't do that any more, and the fabric is not available from the company.)  A while back in its history, there were apparently some water leaks which stained some places on the ceiling.  When I asked my guy at Forest River about this, he suggested I try carpet cleaner -- duh!  So yesterday I got a jug of Resolve and went at a small area in the bathroom.  It seems to work!  It's a slow and not-very-enjoyable process, and the stuff stinks, but I think in time the unsightly blemishes can go away.  I'll take some before/after pictures when I get at it: this may be one of those chores I can do in small increments when camped.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday afternoon


LEDs under the stove vent. Nice 'n bright even in daytime.  I do need to get some tape on the wire nuts, and maybe consider replacing them with some butt-splice connectors.   But it works real nice for now.


The rig goes in to Buck tomorrow to finish work on the differential, and to have the air bag "spring" leakage issue attended to.  

The next project isn't something I'm looking forward to: cleaning and caulking a bazillion seams.   And oh -- I'm going to try some carpet cleaner on the ceiling. Yup.  The Beast's ceiling is made of some carpet-like material which the manufacturer doesn't use (or stock) any more.  My new friend Ron at Forest River suggested carpet cleaner.  A while back, the rig had ceiling leaks which resulted in stains.  The leaks have been dealt with, as far as I can tell, but the stains remain. We'll see how some Resolve works on them. 

I've been doing about everything else, putting that off.  And now the afternoon temps are hitting the 80's hereabouts.  So ... 

Back when I was looking for houses, I was always somewhat bemused by the notation on real estate listings "RV parking space."  No more.  It would be real nice to walk outside and work on the thing for a while without commuting.  Even though it's a short commute -- 10-15 minutes at the most.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

The morning's work, and a scouting report

The visible result of my morning with the rig:



It's not a whole new faucet set.  It's new handles (from Lowe's across the street) on the old faucet.  The plumbing for the faucet is darn near inaccessible:  it's in a very small space between the rear edge of the sink basins and the wall.  So I replaced the handles, tightened the swivel head as best I could, and will return the faucet which the speedy folks at Amazon sent out before I could cancel the order.

Next project will be the LED lights in the vent hood.  Maybe tomorrow, maybe this weekend, depending on when they get here.

Last weekend when I was up in Flagstaff (in my car) to help a friend celebrate his birthday, I detoured around a bit to check out a possible boondock site for the summer.  It's on A-1 Mountain Road, about 5 miles west of Flag.  It was a little early in the season for a full reconnoitre -- there was still snow on the north side of rocks, and while the main gravel Forest Service road was in good shape, anything off the road was in that unlovely state of early spring mud puddles.  I didn't go deep enough to get to the spot which Bob Wells used for a while last summer, and wrote about here. But it did look promising.  I think another scouting trip may be in order.

Planning and thinking (LONG!)

There hasn't been a whole lot going on RV-wise the last little while.  I've been waiting to get the rear axle/differential job finished; that's now scheduled for next week (March 24th or so).  There are small jobs I've been doing; I showed you the results of replacing fluorescent tubes with LED tubes.  I have some small LED panels on order to go up inside the stove vent hood, and those should be in today or tomorrow.  I have a new kitchen sink faucet set on the way; the present set is a little leaky and the cold water handle self-destructed a while back.  I've been using a screw driver on that as a temporary measure.

If I take increasingly long trips, as I'd darn well better given the money I'm putting into this,  I'd like to be as comfortable as I can on a daily basis.  So I sat down and thought about what that entails:


  • A comfortable place to sit and read.  
  • Well-lit work surfaces.  
  • A comfortable, accessible place to sleep.  
  • An outdoor surface for cooking and various projects.   
  • Ways to stay warm and cool and bug-resistant.  
  •  Music and internet access.  


You've seen some outcomes from this thinking: The Verizon hot spot. The LED lights. The small brown armchair moved from the the house.  That chair actually represented a (ta-dah!) conceptual breakthrough.  There's no reason to automatically acquire stuff from RV sources like Camping World and Amazon when I already own more stuff than I need.  Example: I've been converting the "dinette" into a sleeping space on the last few trips, and it's surprisingly comfortable.  But it's a nuisance.  The only reason not to use the sleeping area over the cab is that getting up and down has been something of an adventure: my little step stool isn't high enough and I wind up teetering with one foot on the back of the couch as I clamber up (and down!) First thought: A ladder would make that a lot easier.  Second thought: there are lots of "RV bunk bed ladders" for sale on Amazon.  Third thought: I already own a small, light, aluminum stepladder, and there's no reason not to take it along.  Bingo!  Bonus: it has nice wide steps which my arthritic feet (yes, there too!) like a lot.

Table: again, there are nifty little folding tables on Amazon.  But I already own a light, very sturdy, folding work table from Home Depot.  Why not take it along for the ride?

A side table for drinks?  That little step stool I already have serves beautifully.

And where do things like this go when I travel? Here's conceptual breakthrough #2:  I can lash a small ladder to the back of the rig.  Maybe the worktable, too.  And maybe the water hose, which currently takes up most of a precious locked storage compartment under the floor.  While this doesn't quite match the sleek and prosperous look of the RV publications -- it's actually closer to the look of Steinbeck's Joad family headed west -- it can clearly work.  I've already been using the bathtub as a traveling home for bulky things like my tripod and the folding chair I use outside when camped.

I'm liking this approach: re-purposing what I've already got rather than buying new.  In addition to all the Green vibes, it saves me money, which feels real good when I'm paying for fixing axles and the like.

It looks like most if not all of the small stuff I may need/want for the rig and media work can be had from Amazon.  A while back, when I bought the solar panel there, I opened an Amazon VISA card.  They were offering a $70 "bonus" for new accounts, and that took some of the sting out of the purchase.  The continuing incentive to using that card is that all purchases through it earn bonus points at varying rates.  So I'm slowly moving all of my regular household expenses from my current  cash card over to the Chase/Amazon card.  When that's done, it gives me a nice little fund at Amazon which I can use for small purchases to feed my gear-freak habit.

There'll be another post on some site-scouting I did on a recent car trip to Flagstaff.  Maybe this morning.  Right now Emma is reminding me it's breakfast time.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Eric, the Wanderjahr, and video selfies

There's a tradition called a "Wanderjahr:" 

  • n.
    A year-long period of travel; especially succeeding one’s education and prior unto seeking employment
  • n.
    A year spent by an apprentice travelling and honing his skills prior unto the professional practice of his trade
If you haven't seen it, I suggest you take a look at the YouTube channel of a guy named Eric, who goes by "Nomadic Fanatic."  The channel documents his Wanderjahr, although there's no indication that he has set a one-year limit on his ventures, or that he's even familiar with the idea.

Eric is a young man fresh out of college, who decided to move out of his apartment and live full time in his RV: until recently a Class C Tioga motorhome he called "Tilly."  I ran across his channel a while back when I was searching YouTube for topics related to RV maintenance, and I've followed him for the better part of a year now.  He attended The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, which interested me right off the bat, since I spent a year as a visiting member of the faculty at Evergreen, teaching in the media studies and outdoor education programs.

Eric has, in the course of a few months, made himself into something of a celebrity.  He has thousands of YouTube followers.  He tries to upload a fresh video every day, and each clip is viewed hundreds of times, and generates dozens of comments. As near as I can tell, he's living off the proceeds of his channel: I'm really unclear how this works.  He surely has no other visible means of support, and he does keep buying stuff for his rig and putting gas into it as he travels.

What we're seeing here is a young man off to see the world.  He's from the Pacific Northwest, and we watch him travel south to California, and then east.  As I write this, he's in Florida.  He discovers that it can be cold in Texas in the winter, and that it's warm in Florida.  He visits various tourist attractions along the way, and shares what he sees.  He often shows us ample footage of his ample cat "Jax," who has his own following on YouTube and Facebook.  (Not a cat person, here!)

Eric has, among his followers,  people he calls "the haters." These folks post comments on his channel which are snarky and worse, suggesting dark secrets in his past.  They put up YouTube channels whose whole content is to debunk Eric, whom they portray as a "fraud." I've gotten messages from them after I posted a positive comment on Eric's channel, making allegations I won't repeat here.  You can find them easily enough.  They may find you.

What's this about?  Is Eric fleeing some Really Bad Stuff in his past?  Or is he simply a kind of naif, off to see the world in his RV, and taking us along on the adventure?  Maybe he's like the street musician who will entertain us in hopes that we'll throw a few bills into the open guitar case at his feet?  A busker on our digital streets?

It's hard to figure Eric out.  There's something of the con in him; something of the goofy guy down the street who keeps screwing up but somehow comes up only a little the worse for wear. He and the other YouTubers like him, are a phenomenon of the internet age.   They offer us extensions of the "selfie:" instead of taking pictures of ourselves and our friends and sharing them with the world on Facebook, these folks are making videos. Eric has some training as a videographer.  That's what he studied at Evergreen.   And so rather than still images from his iPhone, we have movies from his GoPro.  It's not very profound, but it keeps me coming back to check in. Me and a few thousand others.   It's like getting hooked on a soap opera.  Check it out.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

The chair

I should have set up the camera to get video of getting this through the door.  It was pretty comical. I was about to give up when I tried one more angle, and voilĂ !





It'll take some getting used to: feels like it crowds the space a bit, but it's exactly what I wanted in terms of function.  I'll use a cam strap to secure it to the passenger seat when in motion.  I like it.

The ongoing LED conversion

The fluorescent conversion is done...



I chose the "warm" color, which looks positively yellow next to daylight.  It's nowhere near that dramatic "in person."

Next up:  some replacement for the light that's built in to the range hood.  The view from down under:



What I think I'll do is get an adhesive strip of LED's and run it underneath the front edge of the hood, and slice wires onto the red and white wires which lead into the incandescent bulb that's there.   The stove top doubles as a work surface, and that one little bulb doesn't help much.

These are both examples of projects which I enjoy doing, and which would involve quite a bit in labor costs if I had Merrigan's do it. Win/win.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Learning



See anything unusual?  Good! There's a panel like this on almost all RV's.

So? A while back, the left-most switch failed.  In case you don't know, when it's held down it turns on the indicator lights.  Not crucial, but it is nice to have some idea of how full the holding tanks are!

So this turned into a Project.  If I took it in to the RV place, it'd have cost me probably something like $100.  So:  I looked at Radio Shack for a replacement switch.  Nothing fit the space or had the right functionality. I sent an email to the people at Forest River, the company which bought Coachmen a few years back, expecting very little except a lead on where I might buy a switch.

I got back a quick email offering to send me a switch in the mail.  The switch arrived; and in short order I learned how to crimp on connectors, and got myself a really cool new wire-stripping tool.  Total cost was maybe $25, most of which was for the wire-stripper, which has many other uses.

The best part was that I learned some new stuff.  I was ridiculously pleased with myself for having gotten this done.  As I will be when I finish retrofitting the fluorescent fixture with LED bulbs. And every silly little bit I learn helps me stay engaged and confident about setting out for parts unknown in this thing.   Saving money is a good thing, but I'd rather spend it on things WAY outside my skill set like getting the rear axle rebuilt, and learn to do the stuff I can.  Besides, it's fun. It's not just a way to get places, it's a cool toy!



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Getting un-stuck

The parts are in at Buck's to complete the differential re-build.  That's scheduled for next week Wednesday and Thursday, along with whatever needs to be done about the driver's side air spring.

Total cost -- you don't wanna know.   Srsly.

Moving right along ...  yesterday was a new high in page-views here.  What I started as a way to keep a few friends and family posted on what I was doing, and where, now has readers.  One, even, from Moscow.  Yes, that Moscow, not the one in Idaho.  Welcome, all!  Leave a comment from time to time to remind me you're there.

Recently, Bob Wells has put up a couple of blog posts about a line of small travel trailers: the Runaways.  The first was here and the second (just up today) is here. These are very cool looking little trailers, which can be pulled behind little cars.  There's a picture of one being pulled by a Smart Car, which strikes me as all kinds of unlikely:

Really?!!

As Bob points out, these aren't for everyone.  They're not for me, for a number of reasons which I'll talk about in a minute.  But I find them, and the idea of them, strangely compelling.   One of these would make it possible to get a small SUV to tow it with and use as daily transportation at home.  (I suppose I could tow it with Buttercup the Hyundai Accent, but that strikes me as only a little less unlikely than the Smart Car idea. I've toyed with the idea of towing Buttercup behind the Beast, but that's really unattractive.  Well, the idea is attractive, and people do it all the time, but I've got enough problems navigating in traffic with the Beast by itself.  Not to mention the cost of a decent tow rig (I'm a little sensitive about costs right now!)  The things I find appealing about the Runaway idea is that (1) it'd be new; (2) It'd be so small that I could see around and behind me; (3) I could park it at a campsite and go to town, or some back road, that would be difficult with the Beast.

Here's the problem:  size.  Plus the fact that I've towed trailers and it's not my idea of fun.

Staying in/with one of these strikes me as a kind of hybrid between tent camping and RV-ing.  Here's a picture from Bob' blog (referenced on the right) which shows what it would be like:





Neat, huh?  The killer for me is that the trailer is too low to stand up in.  You'd sleep and haul stuff in the trailer, and essentially live outdoors. Which is fine, except for bugs and bigger critters which want to eat your food, and rain and privacy.  When I first had the idea of getting an RV, my image was of the VW camper vans of yore.  Then I pictured myself in one of those for a multi-day rainstorm in East Somewhere, MT.   Possible?  Sure.  Desirable?  Not for me.  So since I seem to have the option, no matter how appealing the various small-trailer solutions are, I'll leave them for others.

But --- awwwww!  They ARE cute!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

A little stuck


It's looking like I won't be able to get out with the Beast for a while, even though a friend has gotten me this cool sticker for the rig.

The problem is a bunch of appointments and obligations here in Tucson.  Work on the roof; cable TV repair on the roof; miscellaneous postponed doctors' appointments.  The repairs that Buck needs to do on the rig.  

So it's looking like early April, which gives me PLENTY of time to do various chores around the house and in the rig.

I'm trying to be all grown-up about it, but I'd really like some road time.  Soon.   Waaaaah!

Something I've been thinking about: traveling alone.  For many years when son Mike was young, we packed him and a big canvas tent in the obligatory academic's Volvo station wagon and headed west.  Donna was a good sport about it, but she's a homebody at heart and pretty much always would rather have been back on home turf.  Now that our ways have parted, travel is a solo enterprise... a lot of my friends are working, and don't have the freedom to get away that I do.  A lot of them aren't entranced by the idea of spending a day or two just watching the clouds go by.  And I'm not all that entranced by the idea of sharing a small space for days on end with just about anybody. But part of the good thing about travel is sharing.  "Hey, lookit!"  "Did you notice that really grumpy-looking guy at the last rest stop?" "Thanks, I'd love it if you brought me a beer!" 

So I'm thinking about ways to get together with other like-minded people without actually living with them. As a newbie, I'd never really thought about "meet-ups" and caravans.   But maybe those are just what I'm looking for.  I need to put some energy into finding ways to share, but not over-share, my time on the road.

Now that there are some experienced RV'ers reading this, any ideas?

R

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Planning




Just got off the phone with Buck, my mechanic.  The gears for the differential re-build should be in sometime late next week.  So the Beast will go in probably for much of the week of March 16th to complete the work on the differential, repair the driver's side air spring, and get an oil change.  That suggests that I have this week and next to get the smaller maintenance stuff done that I can do myself.


Next week here in Tucson is the Escapade: an event sponsored by the Escapees RV club.   Seminars and sales tents and stuff.  I think I'll pick a day during the week and get a day pass... the full event would cost a couple hundred bucks, and I'm not convinced it's be worth that.   Not to mention driving clear across the city every day.  This will be my first contact with an RV event!

City of Rocks State Park
I'm beginning to plan my next excursion for somewhere around the week of March 23rd. I'm thinking heading over into western New Mexico and heading north.  There are some interesting places in the general vicinity of Silver City, NM.  Might circle around and come back through Flagstaff, and check out the spot(s) near there which might be good for a 14-day stay during the summer.

The roof repair work on my house is underway, and given an even break with the weather, that should be done before my next trip, giving me a clear slate (and a depleted bank account!) for future travel.


Monday, March 2, 2015

The Beast is safe ...

I had a couple of frankly worried-sounding messages about whether I was really going to get rid of the Beast.  I realized that my last post wasn't completely clear about that, so -- no, the Beast has a secure home with me for a while, at least.   I'm planning another short trip in southern regions of Arizona/NewMexico as soon as I can get some work done on the house, and longer trips up north are next on the agenda.  As soon as it warms up a bit.