23 May…another gift this morning…simply beautiful up here on the mountain…a walkabout after breakfast for a few photos…enjoy. BTW, Trouble’s Traveling Cup is having a great time!
24 May…0330 am…wide awake…crawled in the sack around 7 last night…listened to a few episodes about Tombstone in the 1880’s from Legends of the Old West podcast…all very well done…I love the old west and the stories it produced… was asleep by 9.
The older I get I need less and less sleep at a time…maybe it’s because I know I can take a nap later in the day that gets me out of bed early…or maybe it’s because I usually have to pee…either way I love the early mornings before the sun starts to rise…peaceful and calm…usually…the winds you never know…haven’t had a single visiter around my campsite for three days…nice…lots of crows or ravens in the area…I throw a couple of fig newtons in the bushes and watch them fight over the treats…fun…it’s about a half mile down to the overlook I’ve stayed at many times…I walk down there a couple of times a day to see who’s taking advantage of the view…most pull in, take a photo though the windshield of the car and move on…seems they are too scared to get out because they may have to say hi to someone…I see it all the time…people are scared to death.
Anyway, the nice candle I bought the other day smells great…kinda like fresh linen and a pine tree…it’s supposed to burn for 45 hours and has no wax…it’s a soy based thing with a cotton wick…no smoke…there’s something comforting watching the flame gently dance as I consume caffeine.
I’ve lived at over 8,000 feet in altitude for a month now…all good except the Espar diesel heater has been struggling a bit…not much but I can tell after living with it for over 3 years now…I have a high altitude module installed but have never been comfortable knowing it’s actually working to adjust the fuel mixture…I changed out the unit with my spare a couple of days ago…working well but I made the mistake of poking around the Heatso website and saw Espar has a new version of the Airtronic air heater available…it has a brushless fan that’s supposed to be super quiet and more energy efficient (I’m always looking for ways to use less power even though I have plenty…OCD I guess)…and the unit has a high altitude sensor now built in that will let the unit operate much better in the mountains…that’s awesome…so…I ordered the new unit and a Pro Controller…should be here tomorrow…I’ll spend a few hours at a nice park in Monticello doing the install…just like switching to a high quality and reliable Engle fridge I know I’ll not have any more problems with the heater having difficulty starting up at altitudes over 8,000 feet.
Probably going to head down the mountain to Moab today…grab a shower at the Rec Center for $5, restock the grub, and have a burger and milkshake at the world famous “Milts Drive In”…then head back to Monticello to wait for the heater to be delivered.
More after the break…
27 May…been lazy the past couple of days with the updates…like I’ve said before this little blog is really just my diary of my life in my golden years…really just for me to look back on so no pressure to keep the updates going regularly.
Another nice quiet night up in the La Sals…I stayed at the Castle Valley Overlook again…I’m probably not supposed to stay here overnight but there are no signs prohibiting it and I’m really not “camping”, I’m just parked here for a bit…nobody’s ever said anything so far.
Going to Moab today for another shower then it’s back to Monticello to pick up the new heater…if everything is in the box I’ll do the install tomorrow.
Nice sunset last night.
28 May…well when it rains…today the left front tire went flat…valve stem on the tire pressure sensor broke…mounted my spare and drove back to Monticello to wait until I can find a tire shop on the area on Tuesday…why do things happen on a holiday weekend?
Anyway I’ve got a spot in back of the Conoco gas station tonight…watching Youtube and a small herd of deer grazing in the field…very relaxing…they don’t seem to have a care in the world…I’d like to have that feeling about now.
It took a bit longer this trip for me to hit the doldrums…I’ve been on the road for over 7 weeks now…between the constant howling winds, replacing the heating system, solar panels, cell phone booster antenna, TV antenna, A/C shroud cover, exhaust fan, and now a flat tire, I’m not having a nice time…today it feels like I’d been hit with a ton of bricks…I think after I get the tire issue taken care of it’s time to head over to North Carolina, buy a small patch of property in the mountains, and build a moonshine still so I can self medicate…let’s see how I feel in the morning.
30 May…happy Memorial Day to everyone…I was in the Army in the late 70’s and cherish those memories even though at the time I didn’t appreciate what it meant to serve…the protest about Vietnam and other stuff clouded my vision of what it meant to serve…maybe that’s one of the reasons I became a Law Enforcement officer later in life…a desire to serve my community and country…those years before I retired were some of the best of my life…I feel as though I did a tiny bit to help…the work was 99 % boredom and 1 % terror…a never ending source of entertainment.
The small town of Monticello Utah is really nice…peaceful and clean…you can park your RV on the side streets and businesses and nobody bothers you…I’ve been hanging around in town the past few days waiting for my new heater and a couple of other things to arrive…I stay in a different place each night so to not draw attention to myself…I never ever look like I’m camping…only parked for the night…with the price of fuel I’m trying to not spend much and haven’t traveled very far from SE Utah this trip…lots of stuff to see and do here anyway so it’s good.
I’ve only talked to my beautiful niece a couple of times in the past two months as I’ve traveled…I knew as she got older she’d begin to spend more time with new friends and family…the times I watched her explore and learn about life while laughing and just being a child will be the most cherished of my life…so happy she’s happy and turning into a wonderful little human unit.
Beautiful morning here today…gonna head down to a nice little park for the day…I’ve been walking around town on all the little back streets…most of the yards are well kept and tidy…maybe it’s the Mormon way of doing things…orderly with a certain amount of pride that goes along with a good moral compass.
Trying to eat down some of the canned goods in the pantry…it’s amazing how things build up as I shop at the grocery store…I need to make a list of only the items I need and not just grab stuff off the shelf…I’m working on it 🙂
Had the van looking good yesterday…had a bit of rain last night and the wind was blowing some dust…this morning the van looks like it has the measles…all covered with dust spots…oh well I’ll give’er a good cleaning before I head out back across the country in a week or so.
Got the inside of the van all cleaned and de-dusted this morning…shook the rugs out and damp wiped the floors…all good.
Went to plug in my nice air cleaner and noticed the input said 12 volts…hmmm…I plug its power cord into my 120 volt outlet and it converts it to 12 volts…I have to run the inverter to make 120 volts every time I want to use the air cleaner…hmmm…I grabbed the 12 volt cord I use to charge my CB radio…one end fit in the air cleaner input perfectly and the other end has a cigarette lighter plug…plugged it in and it worked perfectly to power the air cleaner from 12 volts…I don’t have to turn on the inverter anymore to keep the air in the van nice and clean! Only took me 4 years to figure it out 🙂
And…the single solar panel I now have on the van is one of the high efficiency Renogy panels…it’s rated at 200 watts…this is what it’s putting out at the moment…super pleased!
31 May…took the tire to Shafer Auto clinic here in Monticello to see about repairing the valve stem…I know the owner Russel…he’s a good guy…dismounted the tire and found the whole tire pressure sensor had come apart…will take a few days to get a new one…geez…also saw there was a lot of abnormal wear on the tire…front end is out of alignment…made an appointment at Stans Alignment in Aurora Colorado for a new alignment…I’d planned on passing near the area on my way back to my buddy Rocky’s place in Oklahoma so it’s not really a problem…when I get there I’ll decide if I need to replace the front tires…Rocky has a place he trust to do the work…if new fronts are needed it’ll be another six or seven hundred dollars…this trip is turning out to be the most expansive I’ve ever had…but just being at Rocky’s place among friends and good home brewed beer will be a much welcome time…finding a small patch of land near him to put up a pole barn to park the van under looks more and more attractive….
I decided to get the buggy out of storage so I’ll have something to do while I’m waiting for everything to get sorted out…will be staying in the Monticello area to keep the tire wear down…the forest roads are open now so a bit of exploring is the plan.
Agile Off Road in San Diego, the folks who did my suspension, are overnighting me two new tire pressure sensors…one to install and one for a spare…costing $170 total but a small amount compared to what I’ve had to spend this trip…geez when it rains it pours…hope to get back on the road in a few days…we will see what breaks next 😦
1 June…the new tire pressure sensor is installed and I remounted the tire…the computer in the van recognized the new sensor and it’s working well…the past 6 days I have literally done nothing but sit around and watch Youtube…three days waiting for the holiday weekend to get over and three days to get the repairs done…I lost 6 days of my life and well never get them back…geez…in the morning I’m FINALLY heading out…taking a really slow drive on backroads mostly in Colorado as I don’t need to be at the alignment shop in Aurora Colorado until Monday morning…I’ll stay in their parking lot Sunday night and be ready for the alignment at 8am…I hope and pray nothing else goes wrong… but until the alignment is done and I’m heading towards Oklahoma I’ve got my fingers crossed and will not cuss and make the man upstairs mad….
I ordered two new front tires from Amazon and had them shipped to Rocky’s place in Oklahoma…great tire shop/co-op near him that will mount and balance them for $20 each…that’s why I love Oklahoma…the folks there gladly work with you to solve any problem you may have…anywhere else the mechanics would have told me to go screw myself because I didn’t get the tires from them.
I have the new Espar diesel heater and will install it when I’m at Rocky’s place…so good to have a calm port to tie up at when the storms are a’blowin 🙂
2 June…beautiful day today…nice drive over to the Walmart in Montrose Colorado…lots of RV’s and camper vans in the lot…so far haven’t smelled anyone smoking dope…Hwy 141 over to Naturita is simply beautiful…words cannot describe…was having a juice drink in the van and watched a pickup pulling an old camper start to drive away…loud bang and the rear of the truck and trailer shook like crazy…looks like the older guy forgot to retract the tongue jack on the trailer…went over to help and we got it sorted out…talked a bit…he only has Social Security and lost his wife last year…seems really lonely and said he enjoyed the help and talk…almost makes you cry when you see how older folks are barely surviving.
Loneliness comes with the territory when you’re a nomad…I try to not let it affect me too much…striking a balance is something I’ve mastered…I always smile when I get a text, email, or call from a friend or family unit…I have a small framed photo of my niece I set on the counter in the van when I set up camp…I glance over and smile…she just won an award for writing at her school…so proud of her…hope to see a bit of her this summer 🙂
The repaired tire is working well…
I’m in the planning stages of getting a small patch in the mountains of western NC again…found this photo on the net…I like this type of structure…a small living section and a place to park the van under cover
3 June…lovely drive along Hwy 50 over to Gunnison CO for the night…stopped at the Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park for a couple pf photos of Trouble’s Traveling Cup in a new place.
Stopped along the Blue Mesa Reservoir for a coffee…very peaceful and no wind 🙂
The drive on Hwy 50 up and over Monarch Pass is always a treat…tops out at 11,312 feet…you can really huff and puff if you run around up there…picked up a sticker and cute T Shirt for my niece…I always get her a little present every trip…also took a pic of her cup at the Monarch Pass sign…her little cup is really getting around 🙂
Taking the trailer back to Florida in case I need to move some stuff back and forth to NC if I get a patch.
Six black garbage bags can hold a lot of things…trash, old clothes…and memories I suppose. They keep things dry, out of sight, and together.
Six of them were neatly set in the dirt beside the road in front of the Walmart I stayed at in Salida last night. A man that could have been mistaken for one of the bags with his dark clothes, hair, and skin was quietly sitting beside the pile…you could tell they all belonged together. A heavy jacket, flannel shirt, jeans, and old black boots that should have been discarded years, or maybe decades ago, were draped and tied to him. The hardships and trials of his life were embedded in his face…his gray beard showed he was in the twilight of his life.
I watched from afar…what is his name…why is he beside the road…why is he alone?
Hours passed…his quietness never intruded on folks passing by on foot or in vehicles. A couple of times an hour he’d rise and pick at the bags…like he was making sure everything he owns was ok.
As I walked towards him, he looked away…unsure why this person was acknowledging he existed. Every time he’d glance at me his eyes lingered a bit longer. I said hi…he smiled and replied in the same.
His name was Morgan…that’s all he had left…a name…and six black garbage bags.
I made sure he had enough money to eat for a couple of weeks. We never said another word…there was no need.
Morgan and I will meet again one day…I will remember him.
Today I’m headed to the Bass Pro Shop south of Denver…they allow overnight RV parking in their lot…the internet was bad in Salida so maybe tonight I’ll have some entertainment…Sunday I’ll stay in the parking lot of Stans Alignment in Aurora.
I got some fresh blueberry bagels the other day…I love them with cream cheese…kinda starts the day off good…I make my bed each morning after I get up…it’s nothing special but I start the day with an accomplishment…my favorite blanket is starting to wear…a few tears and frays here and there…it’s all cotton and quilt like…warm and soft…like me it’s showing the signs of aging 🙂
5 June…well…the drive up to the Denver area for my appointment at the alignment shop had some beautiful scenery…but…the past three days were totally and utterly wasted…as I got close to the shop in Aurora (a suburb of Denver) it looked like I’d entered a third world country ghetto…pot holes, graffiti, abandoned stores, trash, users of questionable narcotics, and cars parked on the street with broken out windows from last night…I have a very intelligent gut and I always listen to it…I’d been there and done that during my years in Law Enforcement…hopped on I-70 and hauled ass as fast as I could…ended up in Colby Kansas at their Walmart…the tire wear is not that bad so I’ll wait until I get back to Florida and have my trusted mechanic Dale at the Mercedes dealer in Daytona Beach check the alignment…geez is this trip gonna get better?
6 June…was going to the Dodge City Museum today but it’s over 90 degrees F and I just didn’t feel like fighting to find a parking space downtown that will accommodate the van and trailer…I’m in the Dodge City Walmart parking lot…nice spot way away from the store…the little Honda generator and my bank of Battle Born lithium batteries are working together keeping me nice and cool inside the van with the A/C…I step out and top off the genset gas about every 3 or 4 hours…other than that I nap and people watch out of my picture window…people are funny…it is Walmart after all…I’ll leave it to your imagination 🙂
I’ll be at Rocky’s place tomorrow…always nice and if I ask politely he may even let me take a shower and do a little laundry…plan on installing my new heater that afternoon…or Wednesday…or when I get back to Florida…maybe 🙂
Gonna have a coffee and watch the latest episode of Bloody Chicago on Youtube…people freak out when there’s a mass shooting here in the States…and so they should…the depravity of fellow humans is out of control…but, there’s a mass shooting in Chicago every weekend and nobody seems to care…probably because it doesn’t fit the lunatic media’s agenda as the shootings are always blacks killing blacks…geez.
That is precisely one reason I love being mobile and self contained with the van…I can go where people are actually human.
12 June…I’m parked at the Cracker Barrel in Tallahassee Florida…96 degrees…the A/C is humming along well.
This trip has been interesting…the highlights were seeing my friend Rocky, his family, and friends out in Utah and Colorado…other than that it’s pretty much been a bust….I spent all my allowances on repairs/replacements and fuel…the dust and winds out west have dimmed my enthusiasm and the boredom from sitting in the van out of the winds took it’s toll on me…the side by side didn’t work out that well and it’s been sold to a guy in Colorado…I’ve learned my lesson…I REALLY missed having a bike to explore…I kick myself in the butt for selling my 300 Rally a few months ago…so…I called my buddy that manages the Honda dealer in DeLand…told him I’m on my way back and asked if he had any Honda 300 Rallys like I had before…he said as a matter of fact they were unloading one from the truck as we speak…a deposit was made…I pick it up Tuesday…can’t wait!
I plan on bouncing back and forth between Florida and North Carolina for the near future…the heat in Fl is deadly…much cooler in the mountains.
14 June…Happy Birthday to my mom…92 today and still kicking it!
My prayers are for my friends in Red Lodge Montana…the floods coming out of Yellowstone NP are devastating the town. My friend Mac, who owns the Yoedler Inn on the south side of town, is I’m sure fighting to save the motel. Many of his rooms are below street level and will be destroyed. Please keep him in your prayers, thanks.
Main Street in Red Lodge