Summer 2022 Page 44

15 October…as I sit here at 0500 having a cuppa I realize how much cooler the inside of the van stays when using the induction cooktop…the propane cooktop seemed to heat all the air in the van more so than the skillet or pot sitting on it …the induction thing only heats what’s sitting on it and not the van…nice when it’s 208 degrees outside.

The other day as I was driving my F150 truck just stopped…had to get it towed to a repair shop…acted like it was running out of gas…diagnosed as a bad fuel pump…replaced the pump and filter…nope didn’t work…it’s still sitting at the shop…geez…is it time to try to buy a tiny compact car for daily errands…hope not…seems as I try to save and get ahead I’m always being thrown back…this summer has been one of just sitting around waiting for things to get done…one day I’d like to sit again and think about nice stuff.

19 October….it’s been four months of heat, humidity, waiting on stuff to get delivered, built, and repaired…good times with family though…tomorrow I’m heading out…I know I’m headed to Maggie Valley NC first…want to ride the Honda around a bit…then who knows…this will also be a shake down trip with the new trailer to see what I need to adjust or what’s gonna fall apart…not expecting any problems but with all that’s happened lately who knows.

I have a 4 inch drop hitch on the van…will probably go to an 6 inch drop hitch to level out the trailer…after the lift the van sits about 3 inches higher these days.

The trailer is not wedge shaped front to back…it’s camera lens distortion

21 October….nice drive up to Maggie Valley NC…pulled in to the Holiday Motel around 1500 and met up with my friend Rob, the owner…got my usual spot in the grassy field next door…but…when the sun started going down millions of little flying bugs came out of the woods and surrounded me…cranked up and moved up more near the road…all gone…I HATE bugs in the van.

The new trailer pulls great…tucks behind the van perfectly so very little wind drag….without the trailer I usually average around 19 mpg city/highway combined…with the trailer I only loose about 1.3 mpg…awesome.

Anyway the evening light here is really nice…gonna make a salad for dinner and chill.

28 October…been a while…spent five nice nights in Maggie….whiled away the time walking, reading, riding, napping, and trying to learn how to cook better…I’m not doing that well…simple things like bagged salads, steaks, oatmeal, muffins, assorted veggies….

Helped my friend Rob install some ceiling fans at one of his homes he’s renovating to sell…he’s the owner of the motel I stay next to when I’m in town.

Wednesday I headed to the Rec Center in Waynesville to grab a shower on the way up to the Mount Pisgah Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway…love the place…will be here until they close on Nov 1st…no snow but nice cool temps…mid 30’s at night, mid 50’s during the day…all for $10 a night because I’m old.

No many folks here as the season is winding down…good…got a nice fairly level site with lots of sun for a few hours a day to charge the batteries…showers are a few steps away…leaves are mostly off the trees now…views of Mount Pisgah are very nice…each morning and evening I go for a mile walk through the campground…interesting camping setups…so quiet and clam…internet is super slow so I’m forced and welcome the time to just sit and listen to what’s around me…the little chipmunk I throw peanuts to is grateful…I’m happy so share…I have so much.

There’s a much older couple near me…probably in their mid 80’s…can hardly get around but enjoying every moment…he says they’ve been camping since the 60’s in vans, cars, and now a nice towable…I hope I’m still able to enjoy being out and self reliant when I’m that age…we will see.

Haven’t unloaded the motorbike since I’ve been here on the mountain…a little chilly…I’d rather go for a walk than ride…did get some fun miles in last weekend around Maggie…the little 300 is just about perfect for exploring the back roads.

All is well back in Florida…my beautiful niece is doing well in school and as far as I’m concerned, is one of the world’s smartest human units…each time I see her she amazes me with her maturity, wit, and strength of character…I hope she is never pulled far from the beauty of a child.

Last week in Maggie

Mount Pisgah Campground

29 October…0900, 33 degrees, calm wind, clear skies…I’m out for a walk…my mind is wandering as are my feet…looking for a little change in direction each time…these are the times I remember…surfing, trying to impress girls, riding motos, pushing a wheel barrow, college, music, pictures, arresting folks who needed arresting….

Sometimes I wander to thoughts of what I’ll be doing and where I’ll lay my head in the future…who knows…I love living in a van under a bridge down by the river :)…so much freedom to do what I wish…I’ll probably be in an assisted living joint later on watching videos and reading of my past adventures.

Speaking of reading…I’m again enjoying the book called “Man And Horse”…an account of a young guy in 1974 who rode his horse named Gizmo all the way across America…kinda like the travels in my tiny home on wheels…we see, hear, smell, feel, and absorb the places we sleep and the folks we meet…here’s a quote from the book that I really like:

It was such a long time ago. I’m old now, road weary and weather beaten. Rode hard and put away wet, as the cowboys say. The years have left their marks. This body of mine seems like it belongs to someone else. It sags where it once was drawn taut; joints that moved swiftly and fluidly now ache from the simplest of labors; a young mind that was quick and sure, eager and open, is now old and rests from long fatigue, no longer confident and certain, but managing to stay open just the same. The somewhat boyishly handsome face that held a vigorous smile and saw life through two inquisitive eyes has long surrendered to an old one—recognizable, but with its youthful glow replaced by the seasoned countenance of age. Wrinkles and all, I still see that young man sometimes when I look in the mirror.

Egenes, John. Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America (p. 113). Delta Vee. Kindle Edition.

Those of you that choose to read this stuff probably understand this diary of mine is not really meant to entertain…it’s a way to record stuff to remember later in life…to show a few that maybe I did a few things that were interesting and good…who knows.

I wake early each morning…well before sunup…promptly at 0800, the elderly man across the way comes out of his camper and fires up a small, super quiet generator to warm his kettle for tea…I tell him “morning”…he waves, smiles, then struggles back up the three steps and disappears…he always steps up with his right foot first…I guess it’s the one with less arthritis…I know how he feels…my left knee is a bit sore when I wake each morning…a walk brings it back in line but it’s taking a bit longer each time.

I’ll be leaving the campground Tuesday morning…a nice slow return to the ones I love in Florida will take a couple of days…seems recently my time away each time is getting shorter and shorter…the high cost of fuel is part of it…I’m not traveling as much right now to save money in anticipation of returning to Alaska next spring…just the cost of fuel to get there and back will cost me about $3,500 at today’s prices…geez…it is what it is.

My upgraded Espar diesel heater is performing great…the built in high altitude sensor and temp sensor in the control unit are awesome…I can’t hear it running and the temp stays plus or minus one degree…I have TWO of the older units on the shelf in the storage unit…will try to sell them when I get back.

The fog rolled in when I got back from the walk…funny how that happens here in the mountains…clear at sunrise then you can’t see ten feet in front of you…gonna be a good day to power everything down in the van (except for the heater), turn the phone off, get comfortable, and read on…I’ve weaned myself off having to have “noise” on all the time…Youtube, podcast, music…I relish the moments just sitting and looking…no sound other than the occasional hum of the fridge and my tinnitus 🙂

Spinning the front seats around on their swivels makes for a nice lounge area…takes only a minute to get them in position so I’m comfortable for hours…a nap comes easily today…I may even have to put the seatbelt on to keep from falling over 🙂

All hatches are battened down…the fog and rains have descended on the mountain…nice salad for dinner tonight…temps are dropping and should be in the mid 30’s by morning…I love this kind of weather…my little home on wheels is well insulated and watertight…gonna be in Heaven for the next two days reading and watching the storms through the picture window…have three more banana nut muffins from Walmart cued up and ready to microwave over the next 48 hours…

3 November…after a Wonderful two weeks on the road in Appalachia I’m back in Florida for the Holidays…temps are starting to moderate and life is good…planning my yearly sojourn out to the Southwest now…Tombstone is the first destination…after that who knows.

10 November…it’s 0400 in the morning and I’m snug in the van as hurricane Nicole comes through…I grew up in Florida and have been through dozens and dozens of hurricanes…this one is only a big rain storm…watching the local weather folks on TV run around with their hair on fire forecasting astronomical damage…so stupid…no wonder most folks these days are scared of everything…there will be property damage as usual from the winds, rains, and storm surge on the coast…when you build a condo or home on a sandbar on the beach you can expect to have your stuff washed away…eventually.

Anyway…took a few common sense precautions…moved the van from under the canopy in the back yard to a clear spot in front of my sister’s place…no chance of a limb falling and damaging the van there…settled in with a good book and a variety of health foods…blueberry bagels and chocolate chip cookies…and fresh coffee…slipped off to a good sleep listening to the rain tap on the tin roof of the van…life is good

14 November…lovin the lower temps and humidity here in Florida now…I actually feel like going for walks and riding the bikes…I have an appointment at the Mercedes dealer in Daytona Beach tomorrow to have the new front tires road force balanced…Dale is the Sprinter Van mechanic there…23 years working only on Sprinters…he’s the only person I trust to work on my van…good guy…I decided to spend the night at the Cracker Barrel in Daytona…right down the road from the MB dealers…beautiful night right next to the Daytona International Speedway…nice view and fun listening to the race cars testing on the track…I clinched the AMA Southeast Lightweight Supersport Championship Roadracing title here in 1990 riding my wonderful Yamaha FZR400…brings back lots of memories.

There was an RV show here this past weekend…still a bunch of class B vans in the parking lot.

15 November…the van rides as smooth as a baby’s butt with the tires properly balanced…I do so many highway miles I can’t stand it when there’s a little shake.

I’m thinking about spending Christmas out in the west this year…I long for the serenity and beauty of the desert and mountains…to be alone with my thoughts…to settle in with life’s calmness…to sit and hear…nothing…to spend the evenings with gentle winds…to watch the stars shine…to enjoy.

Traveling has spoiled me in a sense…I’ve seen beautiful places…felt the crispness of high altitude where the air is clean and fresh…felt the smoke from a campfire settle on my face…why didn’t I do it sooner…I guess I was doing what everyone was supposed to do…work to get more stuff.

We will see.

22 November…Thanksgiving is fast approaching…all the family units are getting together at my Aunt Netta’s place on Thursday…should be about 1203 there…always good to see everyone.

One of the advantages of being retired is I can change my mind at a moments notice…during my time working in law Enforcement I learned to pay attention to mannerisms, body language, and facial expressions…I talked to my beautiful niece the other day and asked her if she’d be upset if I spent Christmas out west this year…she said she’d be ok with me being away but I knew she was telling me the answer she thought I wanted to hear…she is so considerate at such a young age…so…when I see her again I’ll tell her I’m not going to go away until after I spend Christmas with her…that took a load of my mind…one of my life’s ambitions is to make her as comfortable as I can…she’s been through much heartache in her short life…that’s a story for another time.

9 thoughts on “Summer 2022 Page 44

  1. Is there a relay for the pump? Pressure regulator? Maybe ignition module? And I understand what you mean about being thrown back while you’re ahead. The cancer deal and now I have a torn up left shoulder. I’ll prolly be home for the winter now. Safe travels.

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  2. Enjoy the holidays Tim. I had shoulder surgery a couple days ago. I’ll prolly be at the house a couple months. Planning something for next year myself. Have a good one.

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  3. Indiana isn’t west, lol. You’re always welcome here. I’ll be off work at least until December 9. Be safe on the road.

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  4. Tim, it is a great decision to spend Christmas with your niece. She obviously depends on you to a large extent and it is one of life’s great responsibilities and rewards to be a huge part of one’s childhood. You’re a good person.

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