Page 40, Summer 2022

11 April….I’m on the road again! Left Florida yesterday and drove 540 miles to a nice Cracker Barrel near Birmingham Alabama for the night. Today I headed to the Fulton Mississippi Walmart for the night… no reservations needed…lots of rain today so I only drove about 140 miles…some days a lot, some not so much…got plenty of time…first destination is my friend Rocky’s place in Meno OK for a couple of days…I’ve infringed on his (the whole family’s) hospitality many times…good conversations and great beer!

Looking forward to exploring with the new buggy…a Honda Pioneer 520…small, light, and reliable…just like me. The thing only weighs around 1000 pounds…the small 6×10 trailer around 900…I’m well under the van’s recommended towing weight of 5000 pounds. I only drive around 60 mph and am averaging over 15 mpg…I’m happy with that…with the fuel cost these days I’ll spend around $1,000 just to get out to Utah…don’t plan on running around all over the place this time…will stay put for several weeks at a time to save money…that’ll be good in a ways…I’ll have plenty of time to really explore the areas.

Mom is now enjoying a beautiful assisted living place…she’s made many new friends and seems really happy…all good…not bad for almost 92 years young πŸ™‚

This trip may be my longest…most of the responsibilities of the past are in the past…I love traveling in the van…I love a few good friends…life is good.

17 April…spent a couple of days with my friend Rocky’s family in Oklahoma…it’s always one of my favorite stops when I cross the country…got to go to Rocky’s daughter’s track meet Saturday…she did really well…lot’s of good conversation and grub. Thanks again!

When it rains it pours…the gears that open and close my Maxair Fan broke apart…no way to fix it…I ordered a new Maxair Fan but this time it’ll be the manual version…I think the auto motorized closing clamps the lid too tight and stresses the gears…having a manual one I can feel how tight it needs to be…I’m good torquing stuff by feel.

But that’s not all….red flag wind warnings in the area today as I traveled west on Hwy 160. Cruising at 60 mph and heard a loud bang/crack/rip. A huge freak gust of wind from the left side almost blew me off the road (Mercedes Stability Control took over for an instant and kept me in my lane) ripped the solar panels off the roof and blew them down the side of the mountain…Holy Crap…no way to recover them and I expect them to be broken anyway…pulled to the side of the road and surveyed the damage…no roof damage at all…rear of the A/C cover is broken….over the air TV antenna is completely gone…cell phone booster antenna is gone. Zip tied all the cables so they wouldn’t flop around and continued on. Luckily when the panels blew off the connections disengaged instead of ripping out of the roof…all good.

I’ll be staying at the Mountain View RV park in Monticello for a week or so…a LEO friend owns the place…new fan, new solar panels, and stronger brackets ordered…life is good…mostly πŸ™‚

18 April…nice last night at the Walmart in Alamosa Colorado….today the drive up and over Wolf Creek Pass was uneventful as compared to yesterday when all hell broke loose with the wind. Have a nice spot at the Mountain View RV Park and Campground in Monticello Utah for the next 6 days…all the new parts will be here later this week…decided to stay here and live the good life plugged in and able to shower every day πŸ™‚

I have to install a new A/C upper shroud, solar panel, OTA TV antenna, cell booster antenna, and Maxair fan…geez…I’m only going to install one 200 watt solar panel this time…found out I really only need 200 watts to keep the batteries topped off…the single panel will fit MUCH better than two of them.

21 April….still windy but otherwise a beautiful day for exploring around the Abajo Mountains with the Pioneer…love the little thing…you observant folks will notice it’s now a plated street legal vehicle here in Utah.

Repairs to the van are coming along nicely…new solar panel, Maxair Fan, A/C shroud are installed…will install the new over the air TV antenna and cell booster antenna tomorrow.

23 April…clear and a bit cold this morning…34 degrees…Ive been in much colder but it never seems that cold with the super low humidity here in Utah.

Not much snow on the ground but a nice little layer on the buggy. Have to go to the hardware store and get a tube of sealant…I’m running a new cable for the new cell booster antenna through the roof connector…couldn’t use the old cable as the connections have been upgraded.

23 April…blustery cold day today here at the Mountain View RV Park and Campground…I’ve been here since Monday…it’s the longest I’ve ever stayed in a RV park…I seldom pay for camping as I love BLM land, Cracker Barrels, and Walmart… those places are free!

Got the new solar panel, cell booster antenna, OTA TV antenna, Maxair fan, and A/C shroud all installed…only things left to do are check all the connections/nuts/bolts and get some new silicone sealant for the cable junctions on the roof…lots of old adhesive residue on the roof…not pretty but it’s hard to get off with the cold weather…I’ll wait a bit and do a little at a time…all the new cabling is very secure…Monday I have new Eternabond and 3M heavy duty two sided mounting tape arriving…will take it easy till then…not doing to drive out of town till all is secure.

My time here at the park has been great…good showers and company with the other RV’ers. I can highly recommend this place.

Going to stay tomorrow in the truck parking area of the Maverick fuel station here in town…Monday I’ll head up into the Abajo Mountains and camp at the beautiful overlook I’ve stayed at many times…all paved so no mud dirt or dust…my kind of place!

Did I mention I love being on the road…it’s not like I’m traveling…I’m living…lots of family things going on and I pray for everyone each day…I needed time for myself and to let my mind sleep a bit…I’s hard managing being away from those I love and being in places I love…too bad I can’t take everyone with me so they can see and experience what I have to keep reminding myself not to take for granted.

Wednesday I plan on setting up camp at 3 Step Hideaway…those of you that follow along will know it’s one of my favorite places here in the west…way above average folks and totally off grid…perfect. I’ll be helping my friends Scott and Julie during their annual “Desert Rendezvous” next weekend…it’s a yearly gathering of off road/overlanding motorcyclist in the area…always good people…and cool bikes πŸ™‚

The van now has around 90,000 miles on it…totally reliable so far…I do all my own maintenance…save lots of money and I know it’s done right…I think being a bit of a perfectionist has helped avoid any road problems…hope the trend continues πŸ™‚

24 April…pulled out of the RV park this morning around 0800…28 degrees F…clear and clam…headed up the road into the Abajo Mountains to one of my favorite boondocking spots at the paved overlook…about 8300 feet altitude…I can see Canyonlands NP and Dead Horse Point State park from there…really beautiful. Light fluffy snow flurries all day so far…got my mile walk in.

I love seeing the snow up in the mountains

New antennas…mounted the OTA TV antenna (flying saucer thingy) on the right side this time…more space to mount it securely.

25 April…a few shots from today…big change from the snow/sleet/rain yesterday

The 520 is everything I thought it would be…lots of fun…tomorrow will be my first whole day to finally get out and do some exploring…life is good.

27 April…out and about

Big Indian Road

Drove the buggy out to the old Knox Family site in Lower Lisbon Valley. They settled in the valley over a hundred years ago.

Their small cabin is in the background

Near the cabin is the grave of their son…he died in 1926…he was only five years old. You can see his little pull wagon and a wooden toy on the grave. A newer grave marker was placed years ago.

1 May…not much going on…in a way that’s a good thing…the days are not about traveling now…more about living in one place for a while…a routine gets established with normal things people do…eating, napping, laundry, relaxing, reading, home maintenance, body maintenance, mind maintenance, and just enjoying living.

I’m frugal…not cheap…I buy things that I know will last…this trip in particular is making me stay longer at the places I set up home…the cost of fuel is dictating how much time I spent in one place…it’s good though…I like getting used to not having to break camp then set up camp as often as before.

Nice little putter around in the buggy this morning…not fast…back in the van now as the wind (as usual) is starting to howl…the midday blow here on the mountain…maybe another coffee…


Oh BTW, my friend Rocky’s daughter’s track and field relay team won their high school regional title…now they’re on their way to the state championship…fingers crossed…I know the team will do their best and kick some butt!

3 May…cold and snowy today…winds howled all night…slept pretty good though.

Yesterday a squealing noise started in the front differential of the buggy…took it to Brett at Hondaland of Monticello to check it out…NOT A DROP OF OIL in the front diff…goes to show you the total incompetence of the people who assembled and set up the thing…filled with oil and the squealing sound is gone..hope there’s no damage…this situation has been noted with Honda and we’ll keep an eye on how it goes…geez.

Trouble’s Traveling Cup in some dirty snow here on the mountain.

5 May…I have all kinds of modern media stuff to entertain myself…cell phone, sat TV, OTA TV, laptop….I’ve come to realize that there’s only a 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 % chance I’ll find anything worth using the precious time I have to waste any of it watching the crap…geez no wonder people are descending into idiocy, complacency, and apatheticy (I made that word up)…lucky for me I can go where the people don’t spend a lot of time being idiots πŸ™‚

Got a nice email from my friends Pat and Tom in Cut Bank Montana…all is well with them…I hope to see them soon…I ‘m VERY interested in owning a tiny patch of property in Montana to park the camper during the summers…Montana is stunning… we will see…I’d love to build a nice pole barn on a slab to park under and keep out of the weather a bit…solar would be a piece of cake to install…wouldn’t need a well or septic cause I’m self contained with the camper.

Got a few more things being delivered to my friend’s business in Monticello today and tomorrow…Saturday I’ll be heading into Nevada…have lots of places to boondock and looking forward to exploring with the buggy.

When I’m all stocked with food and water I’m good for about 2 to 3 weeks boondocking…I love it…power is no problem with my solar and small genset when needed to power my hot tub.

Only one other soul here overnight…older ambulance from Arizona…they came in after dark…it’s still early so I haven’t met the occupants.

After a light breakfast I try to go for a mile walk…this morning was wonderful…temp around 50f and not a breath of wind…FINALLY…the view to the north overlooking Canyonlands NP was beautiful…not a single vehicle on the road and a few birds chirping away…life is good.

My sister Steph back in Florida has things well under control…the sale of the condo is progressing great and should be sold soon…when that’s done I can truly tell the folks who ask I’m houseless, NOT homeless…I have a beautiful little tiny home I can park anywhere πŸ™‚

Nice drive up Shay Mountain Road this morning…lots of Aspen trees so I know I’m up in the air πŸ™‚

This tree is HUGE….TTC in there foreground…the little cup made a new big friend πŸ™‚

7 May…a couple of days ago I decided to head out into central Utah for a few days of boondocking…Hwy 95 west from Blanding to the arched bridge over the Colorado River is probably my favorite road in all of Utah…simply stunning. I continued on past the bridge up to the Hite Overlook…paved and super views looking down at the Colorado River and the now almost ghost town of Hite…Lake Powell is almost dried up…set up camp and chilled. The winds weren’t bad but it was a bit warm around 88F…cooled nicely after the sun went down…had a great night’s sleep…nobody around.

If you’re prone to vertigo this campsite might not be your cup of tea πŸ™‚

And of coarse I had to take a photo of T’sTC πŸ™‚ The arched bridge is in the background.

I found a Wonderfull little video series about a guy who travels with his beautiful daughter in a van all over Europe...“Travel With Gary and Amika…videos are well done and family orientated…needless to say I’m now subscribed to their YouTube channel…please subscribe to help them keep making these wonderful videos…here’s their latest episode…enjoy…

I’ll be heading out into Nevada WHEN the winds die down….geez

9 May…only slept for a few minutes at a time last night…winds were out of control from the south…reports said 30 to 40 mph sustained and gust up to 80 mph…the van was rocking and rolling all night…not as cold so that was nice…the diesel heater didn’t have to work very hard…the winds are forecast to subside in a few days…until then I’ll stay put here at the paved overlook to keep out of most of the dust…looking forward to getting back out in the desert soon…after I poke around Colorado next month I’ll probably leave the buggy at 3 Step until I get back out in the fall…no reason to drag it back to Florida for a couple of months…Florida is NOT SXS friendly at all.

My heavy duty 12/3 power cord ground tab broke off the male end the other day…not going to spend $60 for a new cord…get a replacement plug and replaced the broken one…$8…that’s good cause I’m cheap πŸ™‚

I’m trying to walk about 4 miles a day now…2 in the morning and 2 in the evening…it feels good to walk 2 miles at a time and not feel it in my legs…I’m concentrating on really keeping myself mobile…if I loose the ability to walk later on as I age it won’t be good.

Solitude is nice…I’m used to it…I win all the arguments I have with myself πŸ™‚ There are times though when my mind wanders to memories playing with my beautiful niece, listening to her talk about new things she’s discovering, going on long motorcycle trips, sitting on the porch at the mountain home, and just being with those I love…I choose to travel singulary most times…selfish I guess…who knows…I can go for a few weeks before I like someone to share a few minutes with…keeps me grounded I guess…who knows.

I’l sitting on the couch in the van having a cuppa and looking out the side window…the dust is slowly clearing out of the skies…the mountains in the far distance are starting to reappear…the seats in the buggy are covered with dust from the blow last night…but…with any problem, just wait a few days and all will be well.

I’ve grown tired of making coffee with the tea kettle and pour over thingy…guess I’m getting lazy…or maybe when I want a cuppa I want it RIGHT NOW…broke down and ordered a Keurig Single Cup coffee maker…have lots of power in the van so why not…I’m surely not a coffee snob…if it doesn’t taste bitter I can’t tell the difference between a $500 a pound coffee and a $2 a pound coffee πŸ™‚

I’m off for a walk…more after the break

10 May…wind is blowing like hell today…not gonna do anything but go for my walks and try to not get blown off the mountain.

12 May…woke to a BEAUTIFUL day…finally…no wind, clear skies, and the morning coffee smells so good…lots of little chores this morning…checked the air in the tires, put a nice coat of wax on the van with the Meguier’s quick waxy stuff, sprayed the rear suspension with the anti-corrosive stuff I brought along (ACF-50), picked up an Amazon package at the Honda shop in Monticello, bought two bungie cords to hold my patio mat on the trailer so I don’t have to pack it in the back of the van, got milk, fuel, dropped the garbage off and then I was off to Moab for a few days of boondocking up in the La Sal Mountains.

Had a wonderful shower at the Moab Aquatic Center ($5)…a great place to clean up every now and then…found the UPS store to drop off a small item I was returning but they weren’t open…the item is only about $20 so if I get it sent back ok, if not that’s ok too.

Headed up the La Sal Loop Road to the overlook looking down into Castle Valley…absolutely stunning…a few photos is all that’s needed…I’ll be here for a couple of nights just looking and breathing…8300 feet closer to Heaven.

Wonderful crapper at the overlook…heated Sable lined toilet seat and Bourbon dispenser.
Trouble’s Traveling Cup looking at one of the most beautiful places in Utah.

A pork steak and Bush’s baked beans for dinner followed by 3.8 chocolate chip cookies and I was set to do this until it got dark…life is good πŸ™‚

There has to be a higher being…I don’t think mankind can make something like this.

13 May…It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve had a good night’s sleep…the winds kept waking me every few minutes…last night however was great…slept like a baby…calm, cool, and not a soul drove by here at the overlook after dark…the La Sal Loop is not a road that folks transit to and from work each day…it’s a scenic byway and very seldom driven after dark…that’s just about as good as it gets.

There’s a bluff right down the road from me I may move to later today…it’s about a quarter mile off the Loop down a gravel road…I walked it yesterday…easy access with the van and trailer…we will see…there’s another van parked where I’d like to be but lots of other places to park so it’s all good.

In the mornings I poke around the net and look at the scenery for a while as I drink my coffee…then after an hour or so I make breakfast…simple meals…usually oatmeal, toast w/butter/jelly, a bagel, or pancakes…then a few vitamins and off for a walk.

I know I’ve said this before but being mobile and completely self contained is the very definition of FREEDOM πŸ™‚

Talked to my sister Debbe last night…she sounded good and in good spirits…pray every day that all goes well for her and she’ll be able to do some more traveling soon. Some of the best times I’ve had on the road were with her on a few trips out west.

Nice little road for the morning walk near the overlook

Heading back to the van…all uphill from here…about 12% grade

Well this has been one of the best days of the trip so far…why?…my beautiful and way above average niece just Face Timed me…it surely makes my day when we talk…she’s really growing up and becoming a good human being…we can all learn from a child…they’re to the point and unassuming…case in point…as soon as the Face Time connected she didn’t say Hi! How are you? Or Hey!…the first thing she said was “YOU NEED TO SHAVE”…haha yep that’s my Petunia, honest and to the point…one day I want to be just like her πŸ™‚

14 May…after two really nice nights at the overlook I decided to move on…and move on I did…drove massive miles…about 1 mile to a little gravel road I found yesterday while looking for good boondocking spots in the buggy…only about 1/4 mile down the gravel to this spot…really lovely with 360 degree views of the La Sals. I’m up wind from the little road and gonna be super quiet with no other traffic.

And needless to say after looking at whats on top of the mountain this photo I have great internet πŸ™‚ still at over 8,000 feet up

Got a nice email from Matt, a blog follower in Iowa this morning. We talked about me getting my HAM radio ticket again one day…we will see…my buddy Wendell would be pleased if I got back on the air.

Got the drone up for a few shots today

Found a shot of Vee, Me, and Anthony from a while ago boondocking in southern Arizona

18 May…after exploring a bit of south eastern Utah with the buggy I’ve put it in storage for a while…hate dragging the thing around…it’s like a ball and chain…thought I’d learned my lesson last time time with the Talon and big trailer…oh well.

Gonna head into Canyonlands NP this morning…taking the back way in from the Abajo Mountains…the road dead ends in the Needles area of Canyonlands…never been in that way so some new views will be nice…might find a boondocking spot in that area or may head back up in the La Sals…a shower at the Aquatic Center in Moab may be on the books too…I don’t stink so a coin toss is in the works.

The single 200 watt solar panel from Renogy is working well…yesterday there was lots of nice sunlight…even though the panel is rated for 200 watts it put out a steady 231 watts during the peak sunlight of the day…very good!

My buddy Rocky invited me to join him and some of his family in Red River NM this weekend…so pleased he invited me…we’ve become good friends and I love stopping by his casa when I travel though Oklahoma…the places where I’d planned on camping around Red River are being closed this weekend because of fires in the area…I’ve decided to stay up here in Utah for the time being…I know Rocky and his folks will have a great time as Red River is one of their favorite places to spend time…I’ll surely meet up with them at a future date.

The coffee taste so good this morning.

Took a nice drive out into the southern end of Canyonlands NP on Hwy 211…the road stays in the lower canyons unlike the northern entrance road that climbs up onto the Grand View and Islands In The Sky mesas….I’ve never been on this road and it was really beautiful…no traffic so I poked along around 40 mph…it’s a road I’ll surely drive again and look forward to showing it to friends and family when they are out here with me in the future…it dead ends about 10 miles past the visitor center.

Stopped to take a photo of “Wooden Shoe Arch”…you can see it in the background a bit better if you zoom in a bit

19 May…because someone asked…I change the composting medium in my Nature’s Head Composting Toilet about every 3 weeks..I use sphagnum peat moss without any additives…the byproduct is high quality humanure and can be disposed of anywhere. If I’m in civilization it goes in a garbage bag and into a dumpster…now before you turn you nose up you do realize that’s where dirty diapers go too…my waste is much cleaner overall. If I’m in the woods I dump it there, easy.

Pretty windy today…just did my first of two 2 mile walks and now watching some stuff on Youtube…peanut butter Sammy for lunch and then a nap…exciting huh?

My CO2/LP detector finally blew up after 4 years…got a new one being delivered tomorrow…after an easy reinstall I’m gonna head back up into the La Sal mountains outside Moab…gonna spend a few days up there out of the heat…then head who knows where πŸ™‚

FINALLY after some cussin I got the Blueteeth link set up with my Honda i2200 generator and my phone…now I can monitor the usage hours, maintenance hours, and turn the thing off from inside the van if I don’t want to go outside and risk the wind messing my hair up…let’s see how long the thing works before disconnecting.

20 May…went into town to the Honda shop this morning to pickup my new CO2/LP detector…so thankful that Brett and Mimi at the shop allow me to have Amazon stuff sent there…got more milk and cookies then headed back up into the Abajo Mountains to another spot for a few days…or a week…I’ve stayed at the spot a few times in the past and it’s really nice…quiet with pretty views…the internet is not as good but I’ve got plenty of time…the elevation is almost 9,000 feet…I have the high altitude module installed for the Espar diesel heater but still at these heights it sometimes struggles to start…always does though so life is good…I’ll be needing it the next few nights…temps are predicted to be in the 20’s…perfect.

Cloudy and cold today…area is called “7 Mile Flats”…(I think)…I’m the only camper here

21 May…woke to a cool (25F) morning with clear skies and NO WIND…bravo for me…there are a few more campers coming into the area so after coffee/apple/banana/3 cookies I moved a short way on down the road to a nice spot…I’m well off the dirt road now and I don’t think any other campers will be driving past as the road dead ends just past my site….perfect.

Good walk after breakfast…it was nice hearing the dried branches snap as I walked over them and many birds chirping away…never could hear that stuff with all the winds lately…dead calm today so I’m able to get the awning fully extended to air it out.

The small aluminum table I bought to keep the generator out of the dirt is working out great…seems to be well made and able to handle the 50 lbs of the genset just fine.

Trouble’s Traveling Cup is keeping an eye on the campsite…

22 May…wow oh wow oh wow….I found the PERFECT boondocking spot up in the La Sal Mountains today…it’s off the La Sal Loop Road about a half mile down a rutted rocky two track road that dead ends on a point overlooking Castle Valley and Moab…8,043 feet high…360 degree views…life certainly is good today.

carrying my sand mat strapped on the rear ladder
Moab way off in the distance
got my chair set up for the evening coffee

Before I left the Abajo Mountains this morning I saw my Espar Diesel furnace was starting to smoke when starting up…that’s a sign the glow plug is getting sooted up and it’s time for a servicing…I don’t have a service kit with a new glow plug and atomizing screen with me…but…I do have a complete extra furnace with me…I depend on the furnace and bought a spare two years ago.

The furnace is installed inside the pedestal under the passenger seat…easy switch…unbolt the seat…tilt it back out of the way…remove the intake/exhaust/fuel line where they connect to the furnace under the van, undo 4 nuts that hold the furnace in place, lift it out, then reverse everything to install the spare unit…really easy…takes about an hour.

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