Frugal RVing In South States - Ebooks

Friday, August 28, 2009

Impressions on the Carpet

Okay, I am not a product endorsement page, and I surely don't want to come across as an infomercial, however, I have to say I was so impressed with a cleaning product that I just have to suggest it for anyone dealing with stains.

It started innocently enough, I was making BBQ chicken for dinner, and was opening a new bottle of a pineapple something marinating sauce. It had the plastic shrink wrapped lid cover which I struggled with for a bit and finally conquered. I then went to shake it as one would do for flavour blending. The lid had been twisted loose under the plastic, and 2 rapid shakes had quite the affect!!! As the sauce was a lovely brownish red hue, and the carpet is a lovely beige bur-bur, the result was, hmmm, lets go with noticable, shall we,.....

(I started to clean before I decided that a before / after would be good, but it went from the fridge to the stairs!!)

So I took out the liquid I have been pleased with in the past. It is sold in pet stores and I sometimes see it in places like Canadian Tire. It comes in a white bottle with red letters, and is called Nature's Miracle, from a company Pets 'N People Inc which is a subsidiary of 8 in 1 Pet Products.

(Glory doing her best Vanna White impression)

I soaked down the spill (which wasted no time in absorbing into the carpet fibres) and then I took a rag and with determined hopefulness, started rubbing the spots. It lifted with little effort. I did apply a second round and used a fresh rag, but the results can't be argued, I'd say!

All I can say, is WOW! (BTW, I also splashed a bit of sauce on the shirt, and it worked on it too - a pink cotton t-shirt)

In past, I also used it on a coffee stain on the same carpet. I discovered the stain when I moved Ken's chair, and it was about the size of a cd. I have no idea the vintage, but long enough ago to be long dry. Again, no mark remains.

Anyway, I'm off to fill a day with random activities. If anything notable comes of it, I'll let you know :-)

Until then, I bid you


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swalwell, and Sundre

We had a couple slow days where we just pottered. On Sunday we decided around 3 pm to leave base camp Three Hills, and check out a nearby watering hole for its potential for finally launching the kayaks. (It could happen, I'm still hopeful...)

We headed south on highway 21 and turned west toward Swalwell. It was an interesting small body that was great for the calmness of the water, but we were puzzled as to where one would launch 2 kayaks at 11 feet long each. The entire shore was fairly steep, and mostly surrounded by bullrushes. I actually forgot to get a shot of the whole lake because we were diverted by an awesome site of an owl who was about 2 feet tall who swooped alongside the truck. It landed only a few feet away in a nearby tree.

I did manage to catch him perched, and then on the back swing, got him in the rushes and bushes on the opposite shore. In the following 3 shots, I have highlighted where he is in the shot. He was a beautiful sight.
You might be able to see him better if you click and enlarge the shots. He is in all 3, honest :-) I did enhance him in the pictures, but he is, after all meant for camouflage...

He also led us to meeting a wonderful couple fishing by the water's edge. In all, it was a really nice outting with a surprisingly pleasant encounter with new friends. In the RVing world, the encounters just have that affect on a person. The meetings are random, often short, but leave a wonderful impression on you, and causing you to look forward to the next path crossing with someone never before known, but welcome anytime :-)

Yesterday was more of an arranged crossing. We drove out to Sundre to visit with another couple we met in Oliver. They are hosting the campground in the area for the summer. We had a great visit, learned a few new things about the eternal issue of communications on the move, and then headed home. It is always great to connect with old friends. (If that lead goes anywhere, I will embellish at a later date)

Today is the exciting task of laundry and house work, then prep for 2 night shifts. On that note, I will bid you


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Critter Update

FYI, Midnight (AKA: Gums, or Gummy Bear) is adjusting very well to his modified mouth.

His energy level is increased (..a common concern in toy poodles....NOT) in a positive way, and he is even occasionally trying to steal some hard kibble from Glory's dish when eyes are turned.

Glory is now trying to initiate games of tag and such with him, so all in all, I'd say life is establishing normalcy.

Once again, life calls so again,


Body Work on Mack

For those who follow my meandering through this blog, you may recall that earlier this spring I decided to dive in with both feet and do a fiberglass repair on the Ark. At that time I eluded to the dent of Mack being next on the list.

I finally found that rare moment where weather, location, timing, and supplies (not to mention just plain gumption) aligned, and with ring and watch removed this time (forgotten last time, but with a little scrubbing they were back to shiny), and appropriate grubbies donned - I took the plunge and into the bondo I went.

As a backgrounder, on the maiden journey of the Ark - that would be the towing of it from the dealership (not even saved for the first active usage) we cornered too tightly in what looked like an amply large turning space in the driveway. Fortune was with us however, and the rear window (with electric slide and UV tinting just for added cost factor) was spared the agony of partaking in the dent created when 5th wheel met the rear of the truck cab.

We were on the ball enough to clear off the fractured paint bits, sand it down, spray it with primer, and a lovely matching coat of paint for rust protection. We then put further repairs on the "To Do" list somewhere near the bottom.

A recent eye opening commentary from a Dodge representative discussing the eventual lease return brought us to the conclusion that further correction of the matter was due for proper consideration, and it got bumped to the top of the said "To Do" list. (figures of $2800 for the dent alone was enough to take anyone's breath away in a very non-complimentary way - the rest, common scratches in the truck bed topped it to around $4000 in body work that would be expected to be done before we could walk away at the end of the lease term one year from now....!!)

We "misrepresented ourselves" according to said rep because we said the truck was in excellent condition. I noted that we didn't say "new", but that at 56,000 km, highway driven, babied, almost nothing to be seen for interior disfigurement or discolouration, and normal wear on the paint in the box area, everyone we have consulted with concurs. Did I mention it is a 3500 Ram 4X4, so could be assumed to be bought for more than just garage decoration affect??!!! (Apparently you spend this kind of money monthly for a really nice lawn /driveway ornament, but shouldn't really use it according to the expectations of the salesperson??!??) But I digress.....

So on Thursday, I tackled the project. Rather than just jotting words, I photo - documented the process. See what you think.

I still want to take it one step further. Currently, I would call it a good home job. However, unless we can sell it before the lease is up, and pay it out, it won't be good enough for the dealership.

So here is what I did:

First, a shot of the temporary paint on the dent.

The right shot is the prep to protect the surrounding area

On the left, I used a palm sander to remove the majority of the paint & primer.

On the right, I got the deeper pits using a Dremel sanding head ( actually, it was apparently a honer as it was a fine grit conical grinding head.)

On the left, I extended the guarded area and sanded just beyond the dent for blending space. I then vacuumed the residue.

The right is the first layer of Bondo. It needs to be mixed in very small batches as it sets very quickly, and even covering unused mix won't prevent hardening. 5 minutes, and it is set!! I was careful not to overfill the dent in one go. That would make the setting of the layers less even, and create weakness in the repair.

The left side is the second layer of Bondo, and by amazing coincidence, the right is the third (Who could have guessed!!???)

Note, in the first and second layers, I wasn't fussy about smoothness, as long as no air pockets formed. The roughness I used as an enhancer of the link between layers.

The third layer I was more careful about texture, however, as long as it isn't so rough that it tears sandpaper, don't fret it too much.

On the left, I sanded the third layer and determined that there was small pitting in the layer, so I vacuumed the dust from the sanding, and applied a very thin forth layer almost in the fashion of a wood filler as seen on the right.

The forth layer was sanded smooth, and vacuumed.

At this point, I freshened the guarding taping and papering, and expanded its coverage one more time. As I was using spray primer and paint, and there was a slight breeze, I wanted to be sure only targeted areas were painted.

The primer has been applied on the right photo.

These two shots are of the repair alone, and a comparative of the two sides.

Before and After

It isn't the $2800 job that the dealership would like, but it is no longer concave. I will likely tweak it further another day, but if we had an offer on it today, I wouldn't sweat the imperfections.

One important thing to note is that both Bondo and primer are absorbent, so when planning this kind of project, you need good weather, and either a waterproof storage place for the vehicle, or enough time to do it in one swoop.

I see by the clock that it is time to set up breakfast, so I will bid you,


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another Good-Bye

I wanted to honour another wonderful woman in my life who left this world. My Grandmother on my Father's side was the last of my surviving Grandparents, and she made the journey home on the morning of August 11.

She was a woman of great faith, and especially in her later years when mobility was no longer her strength, she would have a hand in all family concerns by praying for all who were troubled, or that she felt needed a little intervention, or just was due for a blessing.

She especially lived for the grandchildren, and had love to give with a balancing dose of patience and wisdom. She reached her 9th decade, and strode a couple years beyond.

I often marvel at the world changes witnessed by the nonagenarians. These are the people who have observed the simpler pace, yet harsher times including the Great Depression, horse and buggy travel, wood stoves, outdoor plumbing, single room school houses, the arrival of radio, tv, cars, planes, rockets, computers, and so many simple to technical transitions that the mind boggles!!

So with love and fond memories, I bless her journey and reunion with her beloved husband, and rejoice in her rejuvenation as promised her by her God.

In reminiscence, I bid you, and her


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Smokey Back Home

Yesterday we went back down to Bellevue /Frank to pick up our sickly truck. He is doing well.

The part arrived yesterday and was installed with efficiency and professionalism, and at a very reasonable price.

The fuel pump did indeed need replacing, but more importantly, he discovered why it malfunctioned. He discovered a faulty ground, which means that if he hadn't noticed and corrected the problem, the new one would have gone in no time.

He rode very smoothly and and reliably home over hill and dale. Again and again he proves himself to be a very strong and capable truck!!

On the other side of our world, Midnight is doing well. He still has issues with the threads in his mouth, but is eating well, and seems to be doing very well, being free of the toxins from his rotting teeth.

I must prepare for shift, so I will bid you,


Monday, August 10, 2009

The Return Of Midnight

Our little boy went in for his surgery today. His teeth were in hideous shape, and we had to get him in, as well as getting him his shots.

So we got him back, around 4 pm and he was quite doped up, and wimpering quietly. Considering that every tooth left in his head was acquired by a less than tactful tooth fairy, I'd say he did quite well.

By 5:30 he took himself down the stairs for a very urgent Pee-mail message that needed sending. He is now sleeping contentedly in his bed by Ken's side.

Which leads to a very important consideration for pet keepers of all sorts. Flashing back to June 14, we became the proud owners of this beautiful gem of a pooch. He is only 5 years old, but being a toy poodle, special care is needed for him.

Poodles are especially prone to tartar build up, and extra dental attention. That and they need clipping about every 2 months.

When you get animals, it is so very important for their well being to be aware of any issue specific to the breed, and in general to tend to their health matters.

In Midnight's case, the tartar was more than a breath killer, and ugly crusting on his teeth. With that kind of build-up, the bacteria is very toxic - causing the bad breath, but worse, it was actually letting those toxins get into the blood stream. He probably wouldn't have lasted more than a couple years, left as he was.

I know with Max, I was chipping the tartar every 2 months. With Midnight, a couple weeks ago, he was licking at a particularly annoying tartar projection on a front tooth, so as I have chipped it from Max, I took a blunt backed tooth pick to chip it off, and the tooth attached to the tartar popped right out with it. That is how bad they were.

Toy poodles can survive to a ripe old age of even as much as 18 and more, so to be so unwell so young is very sad. The cost of a pet is more than just initial purchase, toys, food and leashes and such. If you can't afford regular health care, it is probably better for all concerned to resist the temptation.

I will be getting the bill tomorrow, but in the meantime, I have a toothless 5 year old who should not have had to go through such trauma so young. He will be able to live a long healthy life gumming his way through a lifetime of meals.

Sorry for the rant, but so many people don't think the process through when staring into the lovable puppy or kitty eyes. Gone are the days when you just let "nature take its course" when pet care is concerned.

Our sleepy boy is doing much better :)

I have one more shift for now, and then we go to get Smokey - hopefully, but that is another story.

Now I bid you


Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Saga Continues.

First, I would like to conclude the current vehicular breakdown matter we were dealing with before I post some of the pictures from our alpine meadow adventure.

.... I would like to, however the resolve is still a couple days away. The problem has been diagnosed as the fuel pump. This is a fairly common matter in the 2003 Rams as the fuel pump was put inside the tank, and apparently can cause grief. So it would seem.

So I left the matter in the last post, as having the truck safely towed to Frank, then we were picked up by the friend in whose yard we were planning to park. The continuance is as such:

The shop was closed and so we delivered the key in the morning and they tended to diagnostics right away. They phoned around, and were told that there was one available in Claresholm. They called us to tell us, and to request that if possible, time could be saved if we went to pick it up as delivery was not likely until after the weekend otherwise.

We went to the shop that was holding it for us, then doubled back (in our friend's vehicle of course) to drop the part to the mechanics. To our chagrin, they sent us home with the wrong part. We are having the cost refunded, and they are working out between themselves how to deal with the return. In the meantime, no other was able to be tracked down, and I still had to work Saturday on night audit. We eventually managed to arrange for Ken's Three Hills daughter to come down to pick us up that same night in order to be back in time. - Thanks bunches, gal!! :-)

She arrived and we were able to leave Bellevue around 9 pm Friday night, getting back to Three Hills by 1 am. Ken's daughter had to work the 3 - 11 on Saturday, preceding my 11 - 7 shift. I will now be on for 3 shifts, then on Wednesday afternoon, we should be able to pick up the truck and accessories that we left in Bellevue before returning in time for my 11 - 7 shift on Thursday.

Stuffed somewhere in the middle is Midnight getting a long overdue dental review and treatment as well as what is likely to be his first shots since he left the kennel at which he was bred. The dental procedures alone should improve the air quality in Three Hills by several point levels :-)

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for:

The photographic journey through the silver mining ghost town of Sandon, BC and the alpine meadows of Idaho Peak, BC nearby. (You have been waiting, haven't you??)

Just down stream of Sandon, at the bridge crossing, & remnant buildings up stream

Some of the old trucks and buses at the down stream end of town, & the old powerhouse up stream

More old buildings in town. The right picture is of an occupied building.

The front and back of the main building - the fire hall (front), and city hall (back)

Two more permanent vehicles of the eclectic look of Sandon

And of course, 2 buildings down stream & on the outskirts that makes a mining town qualify as a full fledged mining town: the mining operation (left) and the brothel (right)

A small taste of the twists and winds of Idaho Peak access road. Left shot has the unfortunate SUV with a flat

This one I thought came close to capturing the precariousness of the winding path glorified by the title of road - vehicles pass each other on that!!

Remnant of winter snow in August, & view across the peaks

Progression of the path - now only foot friendly, and still precarious to pass on
On the right, meadows at last!! :-)

My 2 people venturing along the path (left) On the right, a sign which lead me to a thought which one might mistake for an observation of the lack of feces in the vicinity.....

Trying to capture the true angular nature of the alpine meadows

More views and again trying to capture the sheerness of the slopes.

Close up shots of some of the flora, and on the left, I was pleased to find a miniscule example of the fauna (other than the ravenous mosquitoes!!) (I except that bugs probably don't truly qualify as fauna, but other than Midnight and a ground squirrel which I failed to capture, real furries were absent)

More flowers. I think the left is an indian paintbrush, but my wild flower knowledge is rather pathetic at best. As for the right, the best we could come up with was "Cousin It"

One more sample of flowers, and a shot of the earlier post's mentioned "throne with a view"

Believe it or not the miniscule bump on the highest point of the picture is actually a look-out point. It is actually a fairly big structure, but due to vertigo, we opted to not quite go that far. You will note that the path just prior to the final ascent is rather a razor's edge along the top.

This is the rest area I mentioned. The right shot is simply demonstrating the depth of snow still left on the ground

My camera wasn't fully awake, apparently, but in the center of the shot the brownish band is actually Sandon. We had already come halfway back down by this point.

New Denver, the Dome Quixote establishment I mentioned

Ah, now we are back on solid and level ground. My break is over, and I must bid you,