Thursday, September 30, 2021
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Be there or be square
Friday, September 24, 2021
Dealing with the hood for the last time, I hope
Sooner or later the paint starts to flake on white vans and trucks. I’ve done a variety of patch jobs on the Rolling Steel Tent, then other spots flake off. And in the wrong light you could see all my crappy spray can paint jobs.
After mixing the two parts of the bed liner paint, the only tricky part of the application was blending the roller marks. I have a lot of experience with that, having repainted the entire interior of my house way too many times. (Finding the perfect yellow is so hard.)
I think it looks rather nice. We’ll see what happens over time.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
It had been over two years since I last ran over my step. I think that was a record for me. But lucky streaks end.
I hadn’t been the slightest bit aware I had run over the step until I returned from my errands. Aw crap. Two legs were bent flat. But the rest of the step was undamaged. I could replace the legs.
One-inch square aluminum tubing with the correct wall thickness would probably be a little difficult to get my hands on. But, hmmm, I wouldn’t need to use aluminum—just something strong enough. Like one of the hardwoods.
Lou’s neighbor, Pat, had some scraps of oak. Perfect. I cut it to length and slathered on some tinted polyurethane, drilled holes, and presto. Good to go until the next time I have a brain fart.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Time for martinis by the pool with Sammy and Dean
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Just like Dad
It makes me wonder if the boy admires his father and wants to emulate him, or if it’s just what every male in his cultural circle wears, or if he had no say about his wardrobe. The pair were interacting pleasantly, so I like to think he wants to be like his old man.
I, on the other hand, didn’t want to dress like my father. It would’ve meant wearing the uniform of a middle-aged federal employee. A suit and tie. No suit on Saturdays, but no jeans and T-shirts either. It would be chinos and a sport shirt. Then back into a suit on Sunday. That would’ve meant about 80% of my waking hours in a suit.
But that was the version of Dad I grew up with. Decades before he was a rugged outdoors guy, working in the mountains as a road surveyor, living in tents, riding horses, and looking like this:
No suits then. I probably would have wanted tall lumberjack boots just like Dad’s.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Hanging on the edge
My return from California would take me through southwest Utah, so I did some research about hikes there. One of those was Kanarra Falls. Yes, that was already on my list. But then I saw a video about a via ferrata on private land, along the rim of Kolob Canyon. THAT! Yes yes yes YES! I lucked out and got the last space on an open group guided tour.
Monday, September 13, 2021
Happy and disappointed. But mostly happy.
I learned about Kanarra Falls Trail when I was in Utah back in April. But the canyon is owned by Kanarraville and they limit the number of daily hikers. You need a reservation and the hike was all booked up.
This time I was able to snag a spot. Yay!
In the meantime, though, a flash flood had destroyed the ladder at the first waterfall. Rats. But half a hike is better than none.
But I got something wrong. The video played back too fast and I had somehow turned off image stabilization. Most of the footage is unusable. Damn. You’ll just have to settle for my screen captures. Or watch someone else’s great videos.
Saturday, September 11, 2021
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
FreeCampsites.net pointed me to Maple Hollow Campground, up a canyon from Holden, Utah. Even though it was technically still Labor Day weekend, I had the place to myself. Sweet.
After it got dark I noticed some fairy lights hung at a neighboring campsite. I assumed some very quiet campers had slipped in without me noticing. But come dawn there was no one there, only the lights, which were still on. Hmmm. Either the neighbors had slipped away just as quietly or they had been there some other day. Whichever, they forgot their lights.
Monday, September 6, 2021
No wonder they didn’t know where they were going
I’m not a big brand loyalty guy, but there are brands I’m avidly disloyal to. MapQuest is one of them.
“Where are you trying to get?”
“Hmmm, there are several ways to get there.”
“I know, but I need to follow these directions.”
I tried to make sense of MapQuest’s overly complicated instructions. I cross-referenced with Google Maps on my phone. While MapQuest had included the somewhat unnecessary information that US-50 is known as the Loneliest Road in America, it failed to mention that this section between Ely NV and Delta UT is also US-6. Besides, the Loneliest Road is generally considered to start or end (depending upon your direction of travel) at Ely, with Carson City as the other terminus.
I assured the woman she was on the right road (so far). I made my U-turn thinking, “Good luck with the rest of the directions, particularly getting through Las Vegas to US-93. At least it’s just I-40 all the way to Oklahoma City once she gets to Kingman AZ. But even then MapQuest might find a way to confuse her. And good luck with the jumble of interchanges in OK City where 40, 44 and 35 collide. May you find yourself in the correct lane, Ma’am.”
Sunday, September 5, 2021
It’s not always the same
I wanted/needed to get out of my beloved California. It wasn’t a good time to be there. To the immediate west all the National Forests in the Sierras were closed. To the north Lake Tahoe was on fire. To the south the desert was burning hot. So… east? Into Nevada? Across Nevada? Some of the emptiest, driest, most barren land in the country? I had crossed Nevada before and it had been rather brutal. High heat and high wind on one occasion. Nearly freezing and nearly snowing on another. It’s a place where you get twice the miles for your money. Each mile seems twice as long. At least it’s not flat and monotonous like the plains states. But… sigh… it looked like the way to go this time.
I googled some routes, distances and drive times. Less than five hours to the other side of the state, to Ely? (Pronounced EE-lee, for those not familiar with the place.) That wouldn’t be horrible. Especially if I started at the crack of dawn and beat most of the heat.Clown Motel in Tonopah to buy a sticker. And, for the first time ever, I was at my destination before I expected it. Had the clown ghosts worked some kind of time warping juju on me? If so, thanks!
Saturday, September 4, 2021
What would my great-grandpa do?
Sometimes, when I’m faced with a living-off-the-grid problem, I try to imagine how my ancestors would have dealt with it. The current case in point: keeping my head warm while sleeping in an unheated van.
One solution is to simply pull the bedding over my head, leaving an opening for my face. But I move around in bed and the covers can end up elsewhere.
So I’ve adopted that classic Victorian habit of the night cap. Not the glass of distilled spirits before bed. The head covering one wears to bed. As in “Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap / Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.” Except rather than the long pointed stocking cap Ebenezer Scrooge is always depicted wearing (how did they avoid getting tangled in those things?), mine is an ordinary knit beanie. Warm head, no problem.
Friday, September 3, 2021
Under pressure. Or is that over pressure?
Weird things start happening to high-mileage vehicles. Little things. Mysterious things.
Suddenly one day the oil pressure gauge was pegged all the way to maximum. Um, what? A reading like that would mean way too much oil in the engine. I checked the dipstick. The level was in the proper range.
Thanks to the University of Google I learned it’s the oil pressure sensor—a thirty buck part that would cost a couple of hundred in labor if I had a pro replace it. Most of that labor would involve removing things to gain access to the sensor, then reassembling everything. None of the required work is beyond my ability. It’s simply beyond my desire and need at the moment. The false reading isn’t affecting the way the van runs. I can live with it for a while.
It's that time again
Breakfast isn’t The Most Important Meal of the Day for me. I’ll occasionally be in the mood for something that requires actual cooking, multiple ingredients, several utensils and some post-meal cleanup. But usually it’s something light and simple, like toast or a banana. And many times I just skip breakfast, especially in summer.
When the weather cools down, though, when it’s chilly enough in the morning to fire up the stove to heat the Rolling Steel Tent—like it has been the past few days here in the Mammoth CA area—then it’s time for oatmeal. Mmmmmm, oatmeal. It’s almost a ritual. And the good thing about oatmeal (and dried cranberries) is that it’ll patiently wait in the cupboard until it is time once more.
Thursday, September 2, 2021
The $5,000 hike
Ignorance is bliss, right? Or maybe it’s just that not keeping 100 percent up on things means I have less to worry over. Relevant details? Pffff.
I had heard all the National Forests in California were shut down because of fire danger. I thought that meant only no camping. So I researched hikes near me, chose one, and drove to the trailhead. There were two other vehicles there and I met their owners on the trail. Hi, how ya doin’? Beautiful day! What could be wrong?Parker Lake Trail in the Ansel Adams Wilderness is rated moderate, mostly because the first quarter mile is rather steep. But it levels off somewhat from there to the lake. The open sage area gives way to pine and aspen groves, and the trail meets up with the creek. Very nice.
National Forest ban wasn’t just for camping, it was for everything.
1. Going into or being upon National Forest System lands within the National Forests listed below.
2. Being on a National Forest System road within the National Forests listed below.
3. Being on a National Forest System trail within the National Forests listed below.
Yeah, so nowhere at all. Don’t even think about it, mister. And what if they catch you?
A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.
So, as soon as I tie up business here, I’ll be heading elsewhere. The Loneliest Road in America might be a workable alternative.
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Then and now
This is the guardrail and the Mono Lake overlook the first time I stopped there in August of 2014.
This is what it looked like when I stopped there yesterday. Some things change for the better.