Frugal RVing In South States - Ebooks

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Today, for the first time in quite a while, we actually stayed home. I got some laundry done, Ken was pottering with the model, and the genset.

During the wash cycle, I nearly missed the event, as rigs generally do a really good job at imitating said occurrence, and I am quite accustom to shaking as I potter. However, in hindsight, I think I can recall a particularly noticeable bump, and apparently it registered as 5.9 on the richter scale. Apparently we can expect some aftershocks, but nothing yet.

All things considered, boondocking in a relatively unpopulated area with minimal objects waiting to tumble over is really a good place to weather a quake. You are already dealing with providing your own power, have stocked your water, and have means of dealing with, hmmm, lets just call it the other end of the water supply.

CB radios are all around for alternate communication if cells and land lines are out, and really, I think I am right where I would want to be during a noticeable shake down. - as long as the land directly under myself and my habitation remain relatively secure.

I guess you can chalk that up to another advantage of mobile living. If it really gets bad, just hitch and pull to a better option.

Well, I think that sums up the thought train for the moment, and the sauce for dinner is simmering more enthusiastically that required, so I must move along.

I bid you,


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lighting Solutions For Boondocking

A while ago, a friend and fellow blog writer mentioned something about puck lights in one of her posts.

I read the article, but as the only pucks I had seen were run by button batteries, and were peal and stick, so once place, unremovable and the battery, once dead was unchangeable, I therefore filed the info as not applicable to my situation. (They were probably a first generation puck)

Furthermore, I had no interest in spending any length of time boondocking, as I find the creature comforts too indispensable.....

So here I sit, boondocking in California, and although the solar has improved things, we still run the genny at night because with the sun setting early (yes, even down here, the sun sets by 5:30 in the deepest part of winter), if you are running a TV and a DVD player, by 8:30, the batteries are at the low end of the 12 reading. We are loathed to sit in the dark, but also hesitant to leave a trail of lights.

And then, like the proverbial light bulb going on overhead with the gleaming of a new idea, I remembered her article. Further, I happened to be wandering in the section of Harbor Freight (AKA men's candy store, Yuma style) and saw these beauties:

At 3 for $14.99 USD, I considered it to be a great deal. The batteries (3 AAA) are easy to load, and with the velcro, easily removed. The LEDs are rated for up to 100,000 hours, but I will soon see how long a battery lasts. They swivel and pivot, so the beam can be directed to a much broader range. They are working wonderfully, and popping up all over the rig now.

Well, chores and blue boys beckon, so I will bid you


Monday, December 28, 2009

Wood You Like To See

Okay, I remembered that I promised to take some better detailed shots of Ken's models. So, first, I give you a series on the continuing processes on the '58 Mack:

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Next, a collection of shots on the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang replica:

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And finally, the 1910 Buick McLauglin (I'm holding one of the headlights as it needs its securing dowel replaced due to a good bump somewhere along the way):

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Okay, I think that covers the close-ups. The Hayes truck is back in Canada, so until our return, what was posted is all I have to offer.

I am very late on supper, so I will bid you,


Sunset on Hurricane Ridge

Not much to say since the last post. We have to tune the diesel genset as it is due for a change of oil, and we just managed to get it moved by a local fellow with a hi-ab so that the hitch isn't blocking the inner working panel.

The guests at my parents have returned to Ontario, Christmas came and went (dinner at Mom and Dad's was awesome as always)

We did have an awesome sunset that is worth showing. I did another diagonal shot, and did a cropping of sorts, but the keepable part was so large that I opted to just keep it on the diagonal without removing the upper portion.

We have to run to town today, so I will bid you

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Balloon Suppliment

Hello again, just a quick note. There was a pro photo fellow along with the ground crew, so if you want to see our trip from the ground view, this is the link to his shots.

Merry Christmas

Let's see, we had hoped to see the parade of lights on the night of the balloon ride. We were just a few minutes late on that one.

My parents and their guests came out to see them the second night.... but they just went on the mesa, and skipped the ridge ... so we missed it again.

Neighbours told us that it alternates regions as the Wash is a very big area. Great, so we will catch it on the third night then..... Sand storm prevented them parading on the third night.

They don't run on Christmas Eve because everyone is doing their Christmas things and are too busy then..... Wait a second, I hear a horn blowing. I see lights coming. They came!!!

And so the highly anticipated show did arrive. It was 9 vehicles dressed in their season's best. My camera behaved poorly, but I did get some shots, so at long last, this is what I caught of the parade of lights:

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It was very pretty, and much more impressive than the meager photos relay, but it is all I got. I actually choked up a bit as they passed (common practice for an emotionally high strung sole like myself)

Merry Christmas everyone. I bid you


Monday, December 21, 2009

A Day In Mexico

In honour of visitors from Etobicoke Ontario (To non-Torontonians it would be Toronto) staying with my folks, we went on our first trip to Mexico today.

We started out by meeting the foursome at the new casino just on the California side of the border. If you get a membership (free) you can get deals at the buffet, so breakfast for 2, all you can eat cost $6.95. New members also get a $10 credit for the slots.

Ken and I don't gamble, but the breakfast was worth the membership process. We then parked just north of the border and walked in.

Personally, our goal was threefold. Ken needed glasses, I wanted a replacement window for the rig door, and I was looking for a case to carry business cards in so they don't get tattered. This is the type that holds your cards, not the various cards you collect. (2 out of 3 isn't bad, but this card holder remains elusive.)

So what do you think of Ken's new Armani glasses

We went with a more conservative approach instead :-)

.... So then we wandered around for 2 hours while the glasses were being prepared.

Editor note & Shot: 2 hours later the look was much nicer :-)

And so the wanderings revealed such things as:

You can click some of these and get a better look.
These two sales areas, and many like them are an amazing version of Jeff Foxworthy's, "say it with Krylon". Seriously, these are works of art, but as with most rigs, where on earth would I put them???

The nicknacks of amazingly varied persuasion are everywhere in Los Algodones (which, of course, we expected) I think we circled too many times with varied focuses of the varied party members because the vendors started pointing out which way our other members went. :-)

Amazingly enough, the border was a very short line. Usually, you walk in because the motorized traffic is a really long line. It proved true today too, but sometimes the walking line can be over an hour as well. We were through in less than 5 minutes. SWEET!!

This is the new window in the rig.

And up close through the screen. I really like it.

Well, as the parade of lights is waiting until tomorrow, I know what I will be posting about soon. For now, it has been a really long day so I bid you,


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ken & Donna's Excellent Adventure

Dec 20, 2009

Well, it has finally happened - the moment we've ... well, that Ken and I were waiting for, anyway.

Today with great anticipation, and supreme weather watching (too much wind, = postponement) - we got to go up in a hot air balloon.

They had 2 choices in timing - 0 dark hundred (6:30 am) or 2:30 pm.

If you chose the morning, you meet at the pilot's house for a quick coffee, orange juice, hot chocolate, or what have you. You then do the waiver signing, and receive a briefing on processes, then load up in his vehicle and drive to the launching site.

For the afternoon outing, which we chose, you do the same thing, but hold the liquids.

On the way he told us a bit about the history of ballooning (I was 3rd row back, so missed a lot of it, but I am sure google could fill in the blank).

We then watched the process of getting the balloon ready to launch. They started by taking the caddies with the balloon and the basket out, and pulled out a huge nylon mat on which they lay the actual balloon. That is to protect it from damage on the ground while it inflates.

The basket's upper rack and burner are set up, the balloon laid out on the mat, and connected to the basket, and then a gas driven fan inflate it with cold air. When it is about half way full - enough to make the mouth wider, a second fan is added to increase the speed of filling.

When it is close to full, the pilot carefully gives a few bursts of the burner to coax the balloon into the air. The ground crew are holding lines that direct its ascent while one line remains anchored to the truck.

When the balloon lifts high enough, the crew guides the basket upright. At this point, all passengers must quickly embark so as to minimize strain on the ground crew who is now struggling to rein in the giant that is grappling to be free.

It was done with great efficiency,.... but one of the inside guidelines was tangled, so we all disembarked, the ballon was let down, and they went inside to correct the tangling.

Take 2, the balloon ride. In this scene, the balloon is inflated by fans,..... I think you recall the drill,....

... and they quickly embarked,.... giant ...., oh, right, here we are! The pilot gave a couple long bursts with the burner, and we alight into the sky.......

Editor's Note: (had it worked, a video would have been here, but instead it is viewable in my album entitled TAKE OFF!!! See link at the bottom of this post) There are a couple vid clips among the slides, so check carefully. Most are around the end, but this one is somewhere in the middle

We were airborne for about 1 - 1/4 hours and saw some awesome sites. We were as high up as 4000 feet, and as low (while not yet ready to officially descend) as about 50 feet or so - just above some house rooftops (under full control at all times).

We landed in a field that was between crops at the time, bounced a couple times, dragged a few feet, then fully landed.

The chaser crew went quickly about their business, the balloon's top centre was released to quickly disperse the contained air, and we held ground in the basket until the balloon was fully deflated.

We then were driven back to the pilot's house, each holding a complementary cold unleaded beverage (with another history of the balloon traditions which we were not to take part in...) and were to have a champaign toast, and wonderful lasagna dinner (or breakfast if you chose the early run) and were given a certificate to commemorate the journey.

(We skipped the dinner because we were rushing back to the ridge for the Christmas parade of lights ..... which we missed ... only to find that there will actually be nightly parades until Christmas eve .... D'oh!!)

Editor's Note: The parade of lights is every other night as the Senator's Wash region is so large that they run the ridges in alternating shifts - much to the chagrin of our guests who came out to see them the following night, but I digress...)

Anyway, here are some shots, and a link to my web album for the rest of the story.

Here is the link to more pictures in my web album.

(I had to study a previous link for an album to guide me in dropping the link into the HTML editor, but hey, I'm learning - since I still haven't gotten feedback on why the button for linking is failing, but I digress...)

Okay, that took for ever to upload the video, and I actually finished the following post so now I will bid you


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