Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shell Mound State Park

Just outside of Cedar Key, FL is an area known as Indian Shell Mound. Thousands of years ago, Indians inhabited the area, and generation after generation they raised their children, buried their dead, and lived peaceful lives, on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.
Their sources of food included abundant wildlife, as well as even more abundant seafood! For decades, they tossed the bones and the shells not far from the waters edge, and the result were mounds reaching heights of 28 feet, stretching far along their camp boundary....the mounds served multiple purposes, including a windbreak as well as a means of protection from other Indians attacking them.
The entire area is now a state park and an archaeological site, and has multiple boat launches, a small campground with full hookup sites, as well as a walking trail to the mounds area itself.
The Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge surrounds the area, and development will likely never happen. Rich in history, but other than that just not much to see or do here.....but the views are spectacular!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Meet Katie and Jess

Every now and then, I meet some very interesting people! Saturday out at the Tiki bar behind the Low Key Hideaway in Cedar Key, FL I met not 1 but 2 very interesting as well as pretty young ladies, who are on a very interesting journey of their own!! Here they are.............
Thats Katie on the left, Jess on the right....these girls are fascinating to talk to! I could NOT believe what they are doing!! Rather than even try to explain it here, I will just refer you to their website---katieandjessieonaboat.com and you can read all about it for yourselves! They are on a once in a lifetime journey, that they will remember all their lives! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I know that if these young ladies were my daughters, I would be worried sick about them, but I would also be so proud of them for what they are doing! Hell, I'm proud of them now! Go to their site, and tell me how many 23 year old girls you know that are doing ANYTHING even remotely close to what they are doing!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Katie.....Jessie.....I am very glad that our paths crossed! You are amazing young women, on a great journey! I will be following your voyage! I will pray for you to have smooth sailing, and may the wind be always at your backs. I am very proud of both of you!

To much R and R??

Well, shoot!! Been here in Cedar Key, FL for right at a week and I never thought I would say this, but I'm getting BORED!! Not being a fisherman, or not even being fond of the water, this really isn't the place for a guy like me to be!! Don't get me wrong, this place is gorgeous, and I love it here, but for me a week of doing absolutely nothing is getting old---FAST!! I realize now that I SHOULD have brought the trailer with me!! Kicking myself for not doing so!! And I still have 5 days to go---already paid for.....ho hum..... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I still have about 5 weeks to go before we get called back to work, and I will be soooo ready!! In the meantime, hanging out back home won't be that bad. The time will go by quick!! Plus, will be there for the holidays this year. Last year at this time, I was in Quartzsite, AZ hanging out and boondocking in the desert, and loving every minute of it! Guess I could go home and hook up the trailer and head west for a month or so....about the 1st time it gets down in the teens, I may just do that! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hanging out in Cedar Key.........

Coming up on a week in Cedar Key, well on Monday that is....but having a very relaxing visit! Life here just seems so laid back all the time. But also, the locals all seem to be in a rush, especially the commercial fishermen! They seem to be going full tilt all the time. I see them coming onto the island early of a morning, and they don't seem to go back until 7 or 8 at night......some have real nice boats, some have boats that look as though they are held together with chicken wire!! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When I first visited Cedar Key back in 2009, I went and checked out a local eatery named Kona Joes Island Cafe. And each time I return to visit, I stop in and see the owners---Joe and Edie.....and I eat here often when in town. This morning, after breakfast, while sitting out on the porch I snapped a few pics of the exterior of Kona Joes.....hope you like!!
If you're thinking its a cool place, well, you're right!! It is!! The outside and inside is decorated with island art and exudes a laid back way of life. And, the foods pretty darned good too! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Later today, headed out to Shell Mound State Park.....more on it along with pics tomorrow! Hope everyone is safe and warm wherever you are!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day 1 in Paradise...........

So I made it in to the Low Key Hideaway in Cedar Key, FL and got checked in and situated, and journeyed out to the Tiki Bar and settled in to a comfy chair and proceeded to indulge myself and slake my thirst with some COLD Coors Lite, while catching up with Pat Bonish from www.everymilesamemory.com and had a great visit, and made some new friends who are here from Maine..... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The evening progressed, and the beer was flowing, but I did manage to capture the sunset! Enjoy...............
Even after the sun drops over the Gulf of Mexico, the magic continues......
But it didn't stop there!! Just a couple minutes later, we were presented this view of the western sky............
And then it got dark very fast, and the chilly air moved in. Pats wife Cindy showed up a few minutes later with a crock pot of fresh made chili, and we all helped ourselves while Pat fired up the woodstove in a corner. These guys KNOW how to take care of their guests! The chili was delicious! The little woodstove with a crackling fire chased away the chill in the air, good conversation and cold beer...made me wonder---can it get any better? The answer is yes---tomorrow! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Wherever you are, hope you are safe and warm!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cedar Key pics............

This is some of the back bay area of the Gulf of Mexico around Cedar Key...this is at low tide..... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Then I caught these guys hanging out just before the sunset tonight, which was unspectacular......think my lens is either filthy or something was wrong since this pic looks grainy!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Will be cleaning camera tonight in hopes of getting better quality pics posted tomorrow!!

I remember now!!

I left Illinois Saturday morning at daylight headed for Cedar Key, FL.....drove to Ringgold,GA before pulling off for the night for some sleep. Suburban did REALLY well on gas, right at 17.6 mpg!! Thats great for this behemoth! Kept it on cruise most of the way at 65 mph.....aggravated a lot of drivers who were doing 80 plus, but what do I care!! I'm on vacation!! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Left Ringgold Sunday morning and drove to Lake City,FL before stopping again. Room reservation wasn't until Monday, so I took my time and hung out in Lake City until about noon, then rolled on down I-75 to Gainesville and got on SR24 west to Cedar Key...got into town a little early, couldn't check in till 3pm, but Amber, the Assistant Manager for the Low Key Hideaway went ahead and let me in just after 2pm...what a sweetie!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Its been about 18 months since I was last here, and Pat and Cindy have made a lot of changes to the place, all for the better I think! Wasn't here 30 minutes before I was kicked back out on the dock in a comfy chair, just hanging out watching the tide roll in!! Cell phone turned off, so no distractions...just blissful peace in the gorgeous warm sunshine.....Pat and Cindy won't care if I do absolutely NOTHING the whole time I'm here, and THAT is the plan!!! Do absolutely as little (or as much) as I want!! Isn't that what vacations are for? I mean, THAT is why I came here!! I was beginning to forget WHY I was driving almost 1000 miles, but after an hour here I remembered!! Stay tuned for pics, they will be coming in the next few days!!! 9

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Winding down.............

Work is winding down.....another week here in northern Indiana, and then homeward bound, back to the STEALTH camper and my own bed!! A couple weeks at home getting things wrapped up and then----hook up the STEALTH camper to the Suburban and head south!! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Destination----Cedar Key, Florida!! For the uneducated Cedar Key is about an hours drive or so southwest of Gainesville on SR 24.....it sits about 2 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico......connected by causeways.....heres an aerial shot---
I'm taking the STEALTH camper along to have some work done on my solar power/wind turbine setup by a professional electrician who specializes in this type of setup...being from the midwest, I just can't seem to find a solar/wind installer who understands WHAT I want him to do!! Heres a pic of the typical setup and the wiring diagram---
But the so called "master electricians" who have looked at my setup just don't seem to get it!!! So....since my bud Pat at the Low Key Hideaway is having a wind turbine/solar setup installed at his tiki bar, I'm going to have the guy do my trailer install! Have already talked with him and told him what I want and he assures me its a 1 day job, and he can do it and guarantee my complete satisfaction! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Will be staying at the Low Key Hideaway for a week or 2, then I'm going to go do some serious boondocking and try out my new solar/wind setup! Heres a little taste of the scenery around the LKH...Enjoy!
And.......this is what Cedar Key is famous for!!
There will be lots of pics coming to my blog in December, so stick around!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekend escape..................

I managed to escape to home this past Thursday, due to a cancellation. This will be the last weekend home until the week of Thanksgiving, so I decided to make the most of it! Rolled into town and hooked up the STEALTH camper, and pulled it about 4 miles southwest of town to a the local state park, Found me a nice, secluded campsite and set up camp.....Here are the views outside my spot.....ENJOY!!
I think the leaves are just past their peak of color, but still pretty darn nice! Took the above 3 Friday afternoon, but here is the view this morning just after sunrise...
The strange thing is, I'm all alone here....not another camper in sight!! Not even a tent camper to enjoy the beauty or share a cup of coffee with!! Oh well...I'm enjoying it anyway. Will stay until Sunday morning, then pull the trailer back to its semi permanent spot and hit the work trail again...just over 3 more weeks and then Florida bound for a couple months, maybe longer.....

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Getting homesick.............

I have been on the road now 3 weeks straight, and still have a week to go before I get home for a weekend! I miss my STEALTH camper...I miss my bed...miss setting outside under my roll out awning having a nice cup of coffee...miss the solitude and privacy afforded to me in my little slice of custom built heaven!! While its true the company pays all my hotels while travelling, so many of them are identical.....we stay at a lot of Holiday Inn Express hotels, some are better than others, but in the end they are like Walmarts---pretty much all the same! However, we are wrapping up a project in Ace stores in the Fort Wayne, IN area and are presently staying at an absolutely fantastic hotel this next week in Auburn, Indiana known as the Qualiy Inn Auburn.....I will attempt to upload some pics from their website, but they do not do the place justice.....
The first thing you see when you pull in the circle drive to the entry is the wraparound screened in porch with rocking chairs....real wood floors highly polished....comfy rocking chairs made of hickory....ceiling fans creating a gentle breeze....then, you walk thru a massive door to this-----
And then this-----
The lobby is just beautiful! Sitting areas with big, leather overstuffed chairs...a breakfast area just off the lobby....the desk clerk checks you in and tells you of all the amenities, and invites you down to the lobby between 8pm and 10pm for milk and cookies!! And by the way, there is no elevator, so if you want a room on the 2nd floor, you are directed to this---
And then, you get to your room----
I could not believe that Corporate Lodging gets us a rate of---get ready---$50 for this hotel!! The regular rate is only $79!!! And they have a nice pool area, which is closed for the winter but there is also an outdoor seating/dining area just off the breakfast dining area---
Isn't this place gorgeous!! Years ago when it was built as a lodge, for the well heeled and well to do, it sat across the street from The Cord-Dusenberg Museum, and that motif is prevalent thru the hotel still today. Staying here this next week will definitely cure my homesickness! Will undoubtedly be spending several hours on the front porch enjoying free fresh coffee and rocking my cares away!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Have I lost it??

I've been doing some off the wall thinking the last few days, and I'm putting this out there for comments--good or bad--so get back to me and let me know what you think!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Shortly after Thanksgiving, I'm headed out of Illinois and impending cold weather for Florida.....original plan was to hook up the STEALTH camper to bring along. Was going to go to a nice place outside of Silver Springs to park for a couple months and just hang out. Lot rent alone was going to be $800. for 2 months....I want to point out here at the start that this new idea has nothing to do with money! The travel fund is in place, and could easily last 6 or 7 months. But, this new idea has me intrigued, if nothing else just to prove to myself that I could do it!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I have come to realize the past few weeks that my new tow vehicle----the Chevy Suburban---has lots of interior room with the 2nd seat folded flat and the 3rd seat removed. I'm thinking that if I put an air mattress back there and a sleeping bag on top of it, I could sleep just as well on that as I do in my STEALTH camper!! Naturally, a few modifications would have to be made, such as blocking all the windows with foam blocks and then a layer of Reflectix......a partition easily put up/taken down just behind the front seat to aid in privacy and block out prying eyes....temporarily install a small solar panel on the roof--maybe my 80 watt folding panel, tied into a battery so I would have some power......but then again, maybe not, as I would just be using the back area to sleep! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Would take along my Coleman catalytic heater as well as the Coleman 2 burner cookstove.....my DVD player....minimal clothes---jeans/polos/sox/undies---the basics ya know! How much stuff does 1 guy need really? The laptop...the cell phone...the camera...the GPS...batt. charger for the camera....supply of coffee/creamer/sugar/stirrers/GORP/instant oatmeal/Cheerios/whatever else I want to load into the beast! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not being tied to a fixed place, means I will be free to roam thru the state off the beaten path and check out Florida at a leisurely pace.....get tired, just pull off at a Pilot/Walmart/rest area and hop in the back and snooze! May even go to Disney World and hang out a few days.......run to Titusville to the Space Center....over to Tampa to Busch Gardens....yeah, this is starting to sound pretty good!! But can I REALLY do it?? What do you guys think? Not pulling the STEALTH camper will stretch the gas even farther! Let me hear the opinions---good and bad!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Is it Thanksgiving yet?????

Only the end of the 1st week of October!!????!! I am SO ready to hitch up the trailer and hit the road!! Getting tired of working already!! Been on the road in Indiana working back in Ace Hardware again, doing the light bulb changeovers mandated by Congress......real pain in the you know what!! And we STILL have another 6 weeks to go!! Supposed to be finished 11/19, and I hope to be hitched up and headed south the day after Thanksgiving. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This company always takes off about 2 months after Thanksgiving, starting back up in mid to late January, and working non stop thru mid May. I have been told I'm being called back next year, which is good, so am looking forward to 6 weeks of doing nothing while setting in Florida sipping ice cold Coors Lite! The Travel Fund is ready....the STEALTH camper is 95% ready!! The Suburban is ready.....I am past ready!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- My solar charge controller bit the dust a few weeks ago, and have already received a new replacement from Blue Sky.......the entire system has to be re-wired, and I am taking it to a pro in Gainesville, FL to do it for me. Have been stocking up on 1 pound LP cylinders for heating and my Coleman cookstove, so that when I'm boondocking I'll still be able to have heat when I need it and be able to make coffee and do a little cooking to boot! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Since coming back to Illinois this past January, the STEALTH camper has sat still in one fixed location longer than I intended.......but the money is so good with this company!! And while I'm working all the hotels are paid for! But thats starting to get old.....stayed out on the road this past weekend, and expect to be out until 10/19 before getting home. Then will be out until 11/19!! Not being handy, or mechanically inclined, I wonder if I need to have the bearings greased on the STEALTH camper wheels?? Anyone know? Is it something I can do myself? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Off the fence!!

Finally have made my decision on when I will hit the road again!! If you read my last post, then you know I was undecided on where to go and when to leave...but that has all changed!! The current work schedule has us wrapping up 11/15, and by the end of the next week I will be hooking up the STEALTH camper and heading south! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The exact location will be Mill Dam Lake Mobile Home Park, east of Ocala, FL in a little town called Silver Springs. They have full hookup RV sites with free wifi, and its far enough out of town that the traffic noise is limited. I was there over Easter in 2011 and fell in love with it! The park sits adjacent to 500 acre Mill Dam Lake and is right next door to the Ocala National Forest. Lot rent is $395. a month all inclusive. May stay 2 months but definitely at least 6 weeks. We are scheduled to be called back to work the 3rd week of January. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And...........its a short hours drive over to my friends Pat and Cindy Bonish at the Low Key Hideaway in Cedar Key, FL.......A little island that sits out about 2 miles in the Gulf of Mexico, all connected by causeways. Some of the most amazingly beautiful sunsets! Old style Florida, Cedar Key has no national fast food joints, no strip malls, no Walmart.....the town doesn't even have a traffic light!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Was torn between going west again.....I loved New Mexico and Arizona last winter, but Florida won out! The travel fund will not be depleted, and I will be near friends! And wait until I start posting sunset photos from down there!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On the fence!!

My friend Maria recently posted an entry to her blog about being "on the pot", so my post today is titled "on the fence" so as not to confuse, bewilder or befuddle any of our good readers! Also, I can't be accused of plagiarism....not sure of that spelling, but you get the idea! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I have been pretty much setting in one location since late January, since I took a job to add funds to the travel fund, before hitting the open road once again. But, how much in the travel fund is enough? $5k?? $10k??? $15k???? Past experience tells me I can live quite comfortably for a good period of time on $5k, camped out on BLM lands out west. I already have been stocking up on foods in bulk via Amazon.com but how much of that do I really need? I don't really eat that much, but I literally have enough Honey Nut Cheerios and raisins and peanut butter and jellies and Honey Grahams and dehydrated soups to last a looooooong time while setting still in the desert!! Not to mention all the free coffee packs and instant oatmeal packs I've been picking up in the hotels!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- One thing that is keeping me stuck in the mud is my 91 year old mom who has recently been having health issues. I would not want to get 1500 miles away and get a phone call telling me I need to get back home, only to have something happen before I got there......she would (has) tell me to follow my dream and not hold back because of her, but I can't bring myself to hook up the STEALTH trailer and go. Another thing keeping me on the fence is weather!! I love fall, and it is right around the corner!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Forgot to post pics of the new tow vehicle I recently acquired. Here she is:
And heres the cab area.....heated leather seats!! Can't wait to try them out!!
She has an 8 cyl. Vortec engine/4WD/All power/tilt/cruise/6 disc CD/and the back area without the 3rd row seat and the 2nd seat folded flat opens up to a big, flat, carpeted area that is huge!! I might even convert it to sleep in and take it out west or down south! I could put Reflectix over the windows past the front seat, rig up a curtain/wall behind the front seat, an inch or 2 of padded foam on the floor and a good thermal sleeping bag and be quite comfy!! Take along my LP fired heater and 2 burner stove and small tv/dvd player and be all set!! Something to think about..... ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Nothing new............

This will be short, sweet and to the point: I have nothing to share with you thats new! Life rolls on, working thru the week on the road on the Lowes projects thru mid November, home now nearly every weekend in the STEALTH camper, got the new Suburban and it runs great......got lucky and sold the old Ford pickup for $1700. and the TRAVEL FUND just keeps growing!! *************************************************************************************** Thinking about taking off and doing some travelling in December....maybe down to Florida for a few weeks, or maybe down to Texas.....wherever I end up, will need to be back in Illinois mid January to return to work for this company. If they call me back to work that is!! Have been working as an IC, so they are under no obligation to call me out. If they don't, then will look hard at picking up and heading out to Grand Canyon come spring to workamp! *************************************************************************************** Want to see a video interview I did on Solo RVing/Workamping? Go to www.technomadia.com and check out their Rambling Nomads video series.....my interview is at the top right now......my friends Pat and Cindy from the Low Key Hideaway in Cedar Key, FL are in there as well......along with many more. *************************************************************************************** Well, thats about it! Just not much going on.....everyone take care!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Workamping---NOT for everyone!

I've talked about workamping before, but it amazes me how many people have no idea what it is! If you live in an RV---regardless of type---and work then you are considered a workamper!! That definition may be a little broad, but thats basically it. I guess you don't have to be working at a campground to fit into that definition..... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- My first workamping experience was in New Mexico for a retail company that had C-stores along I-10 and I-40. They supplied a full hook up site and a 40 hour workweek plus a check. When I was off, I was free to do whatever I wanted. It was a pretty sweet deal, and I enjoyed myself immensely! It was never meant to be a long term gig, and I only stayed 4 months before heading further west. New Mexico is the "Land of Enchantment" and it was a beautiful state! Especially for a guy that came from the midwest and was used to seeing cornfields everywhere, instead of deserts and mountain vistas! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was in New Mexico that I met my first vandweller. An older person living off a pension/SSI, literally sleeping in a Ford Econoline cargo van. Their champagne tastes always exceeded their beer money income, and before the next check arrived was always broke!! We will call this vandweller Earlene, a woman in her late 60s, with all sorts of allergy problems, who could not tolerate cig smoke, or dogs, or anyone that did not live the way she thought they should. Fast forward to January of 2012.....Earlene decided she wanted to get a workamping job as a campground host, likely thinking she would get paid for doing nothing, other than being a "prescence"......we ALL know people like her!! They want a handout, NOT a hand up!! So Earlene gets a camp host job in a remote area of a western state, and what happens?? She finds out that she actually has to do some work!! And she gets on her blog and cries and complains to her followers that the wilderness area she is in has herds of cows that roam thru her campground and poop all over the place, including the picnic tables she has to keep clean.....and that some campers are breaking rules faster than she can enforce them...and many campers have dogs---oh no!!! I wonder, did Earlene think that it was going to be peaches and cream all the time? Did she do ANY research about the company that she was working for, or the location she was going to, BEFORE making a committment? Very doubtful......and now she is on her blog telling people that they should think twice before becoming a camp host....well, DUH Earlene!! Do some research next time! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Before I would accept ANY workamping job, I would research and get as much info as possible about the opportunity. Make it clear my duties, and even more clear my pay and perks if any! Get a FIRM arrival/departure date!! And if possible, get it all IN WRITING!! WORKAMPING OPPORTUNITIES ARE PLENTIFUL EVERY SPRING, IN EVERY AREA OF THE COUNTRY! Have retail experience?? There are jobs in gift shops at attractions, some even pay commission on sales! Have hotel experience? Many national parks have lodging operations where you can get a front office job. Like to cook? Want to put your green thumb to work doing landscaping? Want to be a tour guide? There are workamping jobs for those skills too!! Want to go to Dollywood and hang out for the summer? They hire lots and lots of workampers!! An amusement park in the heartland? AdventureLand in Iowa will fill the bill! Always wanted to see the black hills, or the Grand Canyon? Want to see Crazy Horse Memorial before you die?? Theres workamping jobs there too! But do your research FIRST!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New solar experiment!!

Well, I have been on the road working for 2 weeks straight without being home to the STEALTH camper.....we are just super busy in Lowes thru the end of this month! Then starting in September we are booked thru end of the year as well, in Home Depots in Indiana/Illinois.....and since I love to travel, it doesn't bother me at all to move from city to city, hotel to hotel, presently am in Logansport, IN at a real nice Holiday Inn Express thru Monday night. And since the company is picking up the bill, I'm not complaining! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- While I was in Arizona this past winter I met a couple who were living in a Chevy van, by choice.....they were in their 60s, no kids, and they were enjoying themselves and adapting to their new lifestyle. They were camped on BLM land outside of Quartzsite and had a little Honda scooter to ride to town. Oscar and I hit it off from the beginning, as he was a retired funeral director so we had an instant connection! Susan was retired from Macys. One day, they invited me over for dinner, and Susan had cooked up a great meatloaf along with potatoes and carrots and onions, with brownies for dessert! It struck me about midway thru dinner that because they were vandwellers, how did she cook up this great meal?? I knew they had a 2 burner cook stove, but brownies require an oven to bake them...so how did she bake the brownies?? In this:
A solar oven!! In fact, she cooked up the meatloaf in it as well!! A SOLAR OVEN!! I had heard of these, but never seen one much less enjoyed food cooked in one!! This intrigued me greatly, but I put it on "the back burner" so to speak...lolol...for more research later on. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So, has anyone had any experience with a solar oven?? Have done some research online, and these things cost anywhere from $200. to $400. but will last for many years. The concept is simple enough, and the interior temps can get up to 400 degrees F.....so you can bake/cook nearly anything!! Look at it as a solar crock pot, because it takes time to cook in them!
And in the winter when the old sun is lower in the sky, I guess you would have to angle it greatly to get the full benefit of the suns rays.......whether I buy one or not will depend on different factors, but mainly the size of it!! Even folded down, the one I saw in the desert was pretty big!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New wheels!

There comes a time when all good things must end, and that time has come for my old Ford pickup!! It has been a great old truck, has given me 150,000 miles of solid performance with only a few hiccups along the way, those being in the last year.....new water pump in New Mexico, new hoses in Arizona, scorched rotor cap in Texas......but all in all flawless driving. She has been everywhere I have been in my travels, but is showing signs of her age and wear and tear.....she has developed an oil leak....she had dual tanks but one has quit working....getting rust around the rear wheelwells...she needs new tires, but I just don't think she will last another 50,000 miles on the road, so not buying any! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So, yesterday I went looking and found a really nice Chevy Suburban, with 4WD, that belonged to the father of a friend of mine who I've known since school....his dad bought it new but has recently went to a nursing home, so the son had it up for sale. I drove it Saturday afternoon for a few hours, and it sure is nice! We came to terms and shook hands and its a done deal! Here she is.....
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ain't she purty!!! And she has HEATED leather seats and heated power outside mirrors, which will be real nice in the winter! Loaded with all the goodies, including fold flat 2nd as well as 3rd row seats and a luggage rack.....
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It already has synthetic oil in it, and the tires have less than 10k on them, so shouldn't have to worry about buying tires for a couple years. I must have drove it at least 60 miles and the gas gauge barely moved.....I suspect it will get the same mileage I got on the old Ford, which recently was right at 18mpg on the highway! Now all I need to do is get everything cleaned out of the old Ford, then get it cleaned and detailed, and put it up for sale!! I couldn't believe the old girl still has a NADA and KBB value of over $3500!! Be tickled to death to get that, but would settle for $2k!! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The days roll on.............

Been a few weeks since I have posted anything, have just been super busy with work! Been in Kentucky doing jobs and nothing much of anything else. Money is good, and we are super busy with existing projects! The 3rd quarter is already booked solid and they are telling us the 4th quarter will be very busy as well! ************************************************************************************** Was recently notified that the class action lawsuit settlement will yield me a check for just over $2400. which is not even close to what I was hoping to get, but its low because we settled, rather than going to trial.....but $2400. is better than a kick in the teeth and I will gladly take the money! *************************************************************************************** I make it home to the STEALTH camper generally every weekend, and am happy to report that it is serving its purpose very well! The solar is doing an excellent job of keeping the batteries at a constant full charge, and the fridge is plugged in all the time keeping a constant draw on the power levels. Recently sold the little genset and battery charger I had bought, since we are working pretty much full time and I am hooked to shore power. When I do hit the road again, whenever that may be, will re-think my genset need, but will buy a good Honda genset, something like this---
this is a 2000 watt and the plan is to use it to charge the batteries if/when I get parked somewhere that has more shade than sun. Some fellow Workampers I know out in the Sierra National Forest report that they are parked in such dense shade that their solar power systems never get enough sun exposure to charge properly, so an alternative charging system is needed to maintain their power levels. *************************************************************************************** The Travel Fund grows every week, as I have very little expense at this point. The company I am working for generously pays all our hotel rooms, mileage and a per diem, so my only expense on the road is what I spend on myself, including food and laundry. And my frugality is allowing me to stock up on little "freebies" at every hotel we stay at. I may never again have to buy coffee/creamer/sugar/shampoo/soap/conditioner/peanut butter/jams/plastic cutlery/styrofoam cups ever again!!!!!!! And no, I don't consider that stealing...its there for guests use, I'm just not using it yet!! And some may laugh at that, but have you seen the price of a can of coffee lately????? As long as its available, I'm stocking up!! *************************************************************************************** Hope everyone is staying safe and cool wherever you may be!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The heat subsides......

Whew!!!!!!! Man has it been HOT!! Days on end with record breaking temps and no rain....week after week of no rain, the crops dying in the fields, gardens drying into dust plots....and 100F temps day after day after day.....but this morning as I set outside the STEALTH camper under my awning, with a temp of a cool 75 and a slight breeze, enjoying fresh coffee as I type this out, it seems obvious the heat wave has subsided for a time! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Work has resumed, now in Lowes stores, and have 2 weeks in.....leaving later today for Louisville and will be on the road 2 full weeks there. Getting the travel fund built back up, but wondering now whether will even be going on the road this winter?? We have tons of new reset projects stretching into the spring of 2013, and its just hard to pass up weeks of $1000. or more!! Plus free hotels and per diems and paid mileage and paid drive time.....hate to say it, but the lure of the almighty dollar is creeping back into my mindset.....NOT GOOD FOR A MINMALIST!! But it does take money to survive, even though I spend very little. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Workamping offers for the 2013 season are coming in already, from the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky to the Grand Teton Lodge Company way out west to a huge KOA in south Texas and even from a place in north Georgia. Maybe, MAYBE by next spring I will be tired of working and will be ready to hook up the STEALTH trailer and take my butt somewhere and follow the dream of camping AND working.....but so many places won't let me come in with the STEALTH camper!!! Have been told--"thats NOT a camper!! Thats a cargo trailer!!" Hmmmmmmmmm......it says CAMPER right on the title!! If they were to see the inside of it, I think they would change their mind..... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Recently met a woman, 68 years young, at a rest area along I-70 just outside Indianapolis who was pulling a trailer very similar to mine and she was "living the dream" of travelling the country and living out of the trailer. She is a widow, drawing $963. a month social security, and that is her only source of income. She travels with her 9 year old min pin named Sadie, and they are camera shy, so no pics! Sorry gang. But she was very upbeat, telling me she was from Oregon, been on the road 3 months, and loving every minute of it! She will drive anywhere from 100 to 200 miles a day, depending on her mood, and will often stay the night at Walmart lots or rest areas.....she knew that I wasn't judging her way of life, and that I "got it".....she told me she wished that more people "got it".......she had no ultimate destination, and often decided which way to go by flipping a coin!! Serendipity at its finest. More power to you Sally, and enjoy yourself and be safe! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back to work!!

This past week I made a trip down to Little Rock, Arkansas to see some good friends and just hang out a few days. While there, was reading some blogs I follow and discovered that Cherie and Chris from www.technomadia.com were in St. Louis area visiting family. If you go to their site, you'll discover that they are travelling the land in a really cool restored bus, and they are VERY tech savvy!! And, way cool people! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Anyway, on my return, I dropped them an email saying I was passing through and would love to hook up!! They were up for it, so we made arrangements and met in Columbia, IL which is where Chris' parents live. Cherie wasn't feeling up to snuff, but she came anyway. We had a great visit, talking about things like solar power, lithium batteries,how I fund my lifestyle, etc....they even did a short video about me which will be up on their site in the near future! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So we hung out in a nice city park in the shade for an hour or so, and then I rolled out for home. No doubt our paths will cross again sometime down the road!! They are a fine example of younger nomads, living their dream, not confined in a sticks and bricks house with all the nonsense that goes with that type of life! I highly recommend their site, tons of useful info on it! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I rolled back in home Thursday evening, and found a FedEx envelope waiting for me. It was from this company I am working for as an IC, informing me that we are going back to work on June 25th, with at least 3 months solid work all set up! But, they have switched me from the Ace Hardware team over to the Lowes team! We are starting in Indianapolis district, then heading to Kentucky, and on to Ohio, wrapping up the 3rd quarter in Atlanta.......4th quarter is still up in the air but looks like we will be in Georgia and Florida! I could use a good 6 months of solid work, to build up the travel fund! Will be good to get back on the road with the STEALTH camper, maybe back to Arizona for a few months!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friday, June 8, 2012

Boondocking gear question.....

In my little corner of the world where I am at the moment, occasionally someone from the main road will see my STEALTH trailer setting out here with the awning out, and find their way to where I am.....this happened to me today, and it was 2 young girls bicycling their way from St. Louis to Indianapolis. But these are the type that have money on a credit card, and are not pitching a tent along their way, but rather staying in nice hotels with the creature comforts that 19 year old females feel they need!! More power to them! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We all sat and enjoyed the morning shade under my awning, and they told me this trip was a "trial" run for a cross country trip they were planning for next year, and the discussion turned to boondocking, and what that would entail.....questions flowed freely.....how do you cook something hot? I showed them my Coleman 2 burner LP stove... They seemed to like that idea! But, what if you get cold? And we are in a tent? I showed them my Coleman LP fired heater... OK, so what if we need light to write our experiences down into our journals?? I told them about the little solar stake lights I saw a girl using in Arizona this past winter, but also I have those handy little dot lights in the STEALTH trailer... They thought those were "cool"!! Teenage girls are so much fun to hang out with!! OK, so HOW do we take showers when we are tent camping?? We HAVE to stay clean and fresh!! After all, we're GIRLS!! No problem ladies!! Buy one of these things and fill it with water, lay it in the sun a few hours, maybe heat up a gallon of water on your cookstove, pour the hot water in, find a tree limb to hang it from, grab the soap and have at it!! This little solar bag grabbed their attention!! I told them they might want to buy 2 or 3 to be safe! After all, how many girls can take a shower AND wash their hair with just 5 gallons of water??? Ya, not many!! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The discussion then turned to the STEALTH trailer, and of course they had to have a tour.....wow!!! This is way cool dude!! A fridge and a microwave and a coffeemaker and a flat screen tv and an 8" mattress!! Dude, this is wicked!! And just to be cruel, I reached up and turned on the rooftop A/C unit----air conditioning!! In a frickin cargo trailer?? We HAVE to think about getting one of these!!! Seriously, how much money you got wrapped up in this, and where can we get one?? And how big a truck do we need to pull it? And how does the solar panels work?? I have a feeling these 2 will NOT be tent camping next year when they go cross country!