Sunday, March 30, 2014

Driveway camping, 2014 edition

A sequel to the 2010 story.

Finally got a free weekend, plus one where the weather was forecast to be more-than-halfway decent.

I spent a chunk of yesterday putting gear into the travel trailer.  (Most of this was from the pop-up and we actually are able to make use of nearly everything we bought for that unit.  If my memory serves me rightly, the only thing I coughed up money for that we couldn't take out of the pup was new tires and bearings.)

This was not meant to be a full shakedown.  First of all the camper is still winterized.  I'm trying to figure out when to flush out the pink stuff and don't think we are out of below-freezing overnight temps just yet.

Also I did not power up the refrigerator.  I'm not fully level (but I am pretty level) however I didn't see any real need to dink around with the power tongue jack and side levelers considering we would not be cooking or needing to chill beverages.

So, just as with the entry noted above, all we wanted to do was overnight in the rig.  I did bring out my coffeemaker and a kettle to heat up water for Geogal's tea.

How did it go?

Sorry to say, not extremely well.  I had difficulty getting to sleep (it was windy and something outside kept going clink, clink, clink.  The only noise I want when falling asleep is white noise) and Geogal realized about about 6 in the morning that the mattress is not adequate for her needs.  She retreated to the camper's leather sofa due to back issues.

However everything inside the camper worked fine.  Heater kept us at a nice temp and a travel trailer keeps out much more outside noise than does a pop-up.  I also got out my old Sirius radio tuner and home connect kit, placed the antenna on top of the camper, plugged it into the radio/CD/DVD/audio unit which also has an auxiliary jack.  Nice to have some calming music by which to enjoy one's morning coffee.  Also pleasant to boil water on the gas range rather than plug something in.

A purchase in our near future:  memory foam mattress topper or a higher-level mattress.  At least we figured that out early and didn't have to endure several uncomfortable nights hundreds of miles from home base.

Next time I will have de-winterized the camper and we will give her more of a full shakedown at the nearby lake/state park.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Last weekend, nice weather with temps hitting the 70s on Saturday.

This weekend, cruddy weather with light snow falling this past Saturday.  Woke up this morning to temperatures in the teens and needing to walk carefully to avoid slippage on the ice!

But now it's the evening and the sun decided to make an appearance.  The light snow is just about all gone.

But still, one longs for true warm weather.  However this is March and you truly never know what's in store for the next few days.  What I just described is not unusual for this time of year.

Nagging question:  When DO I de-winterize the camper?

Next nagging question:  What should we really call this time of year?  Spring doesn't fit.  Neither does winter.  

Wing?  Sprinter?

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Now there's this weekend

Weather is exponentially nicer than this time last week.

Last Saturday:  Gray skies, temp hovering around zero, occasional snow and ice.

Today:  Sunny, wind is calm, temps in the low 50's.

Not a bad day to go out to the camper and lounge around.  I popped in a CD and jammed to the sounds of Steely Dan followed by classical pieces.

Geogal joined me a bit later.  She appeared OK just sitting and reading her e-book.

Only one drawback to preliminary "driveway camping."  The house wi-fi doesn't seem to give a useable signal out in the camper.  No matter.  Set up my iPhone as a hotspot and that solved the issue.  Works just fine for web browsing, I have no intention of watching streaming video out there.

Come to think of it, gimpy wi-fi is a typical issue in campgrounds so maybe this is a useful lesson.  Hey, as long as we can pick up a 3G or 4G signal we're good to go.

(My father sighs.)

Opened up the blinds and enjoyed some natural light.  Since we left the door open the neighbor's cat chose to join us.

Soon it will be camping season!

Friday, March 07, 2014

During the past year….

It likely was close to a year ago that I went to central Kansas for 4H Shooting Sports Coordinator training.  Given I was doing the bachelor thing at the time (Geogal was in school) I had a fair amount of time to myself on the journey.  Once I got close to my destination I realized I was rather early and therefore decided to do something I'd been putting off for years.

Pulled off Interstate 70 at Abilene and headed south to the Eisenhower Center.

I didn't spend a great deal of time there.  In fact I only visited one building.  (The fact that this structure was a free one to get into also played into my decision-making process.)

Just joking.  I was happy this one did not require an admission charge as I had long since wanted to visit the final resting place of Dwight Eisenhower.

Too bad that pic came out a tad blurry.  My blood sugar must have been low.

Then I got to thinking, is this the only presidential grave I've visited?  Hmmm.

As a small child I remember Arlington National Cemetery (mainly I remember my awe at seeing headstones as far as my eye could focus).  So it's highly likely I saw JFK's grave although I don't remember it specifically.

A few years later me, my sisters, my mother, and my grandmother all went to the LBJ Ranch in the Texas Hill Country.  I do remember seeing Johnson's headstone from a distance--the tour bus only stopped in the roadway and the public was not allowed in the family cemetery.

But no doubt Ike's grave is the closest I have been to a president's burial site.  And yes, I took several silent minutes and paid my respects.

Next time I need to take more of the day, pay the admission fee, and spend plenty of time taking in all that the Eisenhower Center has to offer.

Maybe combine it with a trip to the Harry S Truman Presidential Library and Museum??

Thursday, March 06, 2014


A few entries ago I made reference to "the bad part of winter."

That negative edge to the time of year when the northern hemisphere is pointed away from the sun hit very hard these last few weeks.  Given December was fairly mild January and February seemed especially cruel.

But now we're in March and hope springs eternal.  Pun intended.

Today walking from one building to another at my place of employment I spotted a promising sign of the changing seasons.

A ladybug.  And then another.

Nothing like a small colorful insect to give cheer to one's day.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Yep, it's me

Speaking of that last entry, I'm still pondering why the YouTube video didn't embed the way it should have (and that my preview pane showed was good to go).

But let's move on.

Still haven't been able to even as much as driveway camp with my new rig.  Too danged cold.  Even though this rig has a heater and plenty of propane I still don't feel the urge to replicate the experience of a high elevation with kill-the-annoying-invading-pests low temps.

And this past weekend was really the kicker.  Barely above zero for both Saturday and Sunday.  Fortunately today the temps were in the range of sanity.  Melted a lot of the remaining snow.

Us humans are funny folks.  Come June and July it will be so blasted hot we'll all be praying for a blast of cool air.  Sometimes I think in the afterlife our ancestors are laughing at us so hard the tears are flowing faster than the local creek after spring thaw.

And, in June and July even in the hot temps I will still enjoy my camper.  Got an air conditioner on the top, don't you know?

Springtime, please come!!


The lack of postings can be summed up by my usual excuse--no time.  No kidding.

Last Tuesday evening I was looking forward to a nice, casual stay-at-home evening.


Not long after I walked through the front door Geogal reminded me that our child had a vocal concert that very evening.  I was even the one who wrote it on the calendar!

Plus it had snowed that afternoon and frigid temps were our constant companion.  However I was treated to some nice renditions of old songs and pretty decent performances from the junior high band members.  Didn't cost a cent, either.

Earlier in February I committed to putting in some time for the local Rotary Club (of which I am a member) Rotary Radio fundraiser.

Me and my big mouth.  Happened to mention I had radio experience and that I'd be willing to re-write some of the ads to make them more "chatty."

Turned out I redid nearly all of the ads.  From a whole lot of local businesses.  Plus a few new ones.

Time-consuming, but I got it all done.  The end result was very positive.

And my mom thinks living in a small town is nothing but never-ending boredom.


What am I reading these days?  Going through the Cork O'Connor series penned by William Kent Krueger.  Right now I'm reading Thunder Bay.

Like so many folks I have read through C.J. Box's books featuring Joe Pickett and now just await his new releases.  Hey, I'm in luck!  Looks like Stone Cold will be out in a matter of days.

And with the Kindle I am also perusing Scavengers by Steven Havill.  Set in southern New Mexico (an area with which I am a bit familiar).

Maybe I'm picky but finding quality fiction is very challenging.  I don't care for the likes of James Patterson or some of these other "hot" authors, particularly when the violence and brutality scale is way over the top.

Makes finding tomes I like especially rewarding.