Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hitch Itch is a Dangerous Affliction! I Need to be Careful!

When we took off in September I had a bad case of hitch itch raging. It took a hell of a lot of diesel fuel to soothe it, and get it under control. It wouldn't do to sit around in one spot, too long, and let it get all fired up again!

Better to keep it under control with smaller doses of diesel...

Now, there's some that claim, and I hold with their opinion, that though a consistent program of low dose diesel application is a good treatment for Chronic Hitch Itch; Studies show that the success rate nearly doubles with the addition of a supplemental, moderate, dose of Splitting the Wind on a Ribbon of Highway... On a Motorcycle!

... and that Ribbon can be just about anywhere! :o)

Since I can feel the faint stirrings that recurring itch here in Denver... It's likely a good thing that our stay here is getting short. We should be pulling out and heading back south... to find my Raider so I can get back to some supplemental treatments, sometime early in the new year... like... Monday or Tuesday...

Can't afford to have that Hitch Itch affliction get stirred up like it was...again! :o)

... and of course... the weather is starting to go South as well :o) in with a storm... out with another I guess!

Wandering Through the Great and Glorious West

Return to the main site of goin' RV Boondocking or Visit my Sister website Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road

Monday, December 27, 2010

RV Hardware Bins, RV Tinkering and Custom RV Construction ...or...

Let's build a Rat Rod RV Tow Vehicle!!

Huh? A What? 

Yes!! A Rat Rod Tow Vehicle! ... "Martha!!! Watch out for him!!! I think this boy has done gone and caught some sort of a virus! He's gone to babblin' 'bout crazy stuff! " :o)

Yup... I'm back to my old ways... and I've got to thinkin' my old ways just might could be genetically connected to my Gypsy gene... Life would sure be simpler if one old geezer I know of could just get hisself comfortable with the way things are; rather than always schemin' 'bout how they could be! :o)

It seems that the lil' bit of custom RV Tinkering Bud and I did 'fore Heidi and I cut north from Phoenix for Christmas (reworking the tail mounted motorcycle carrier into an RV Cargo Rack) has gone and fired up my Schemin' parts...

On top of that... Mark an' Bobbie talkin' of moving to a smaller rig has got that idea of a smaller, lighter, easier gypsy rig, simmerin' in my head again... along with rat ride motorcycles and... my newest redneck goofy idea to Make it my Own ... a Rat Rod RV Tow Vehicle... and one set up special... to haul motorcycles in front of that Lil' Rig?

Seems perfect to me... and I already got the truck, with as many dents and scuffs as my ol Rat Ride Butt has got! ;o) ... so I've got a head start! :o)

'course... as always for a guy like me... that all just means I gotta sell a whole passel more books to foot the bill for all my schemin'! :o) ... like I said, it would all be a lot simpler if I was one of those fellers that was just content to see where he's been... 'stead of always standing with my eyes on the horizon! :o) 

Oh well... where's the fun in that?!! 

Had a thought... Maybe I should oughta go sit up at the street corner with some of those other fellas, looking all grubby and raggedy... MY cardboard sign could read:

Hungry and Homeless
Buy my ebooks
Only, I'm stuck on one lil' thing... where can I put the link for 'em to click? :o) Yeah... well... Every idea can't be a good one!

I Did have one the other day walkin' through Costco... they had some hardware bins for sale. two drawers in a metal case. 48 compartments already stocked with some misc nuts and bolts and cotter pins and such. 

*Perfect RV Hardware Organizer at Costco!*
I picked up two of 'em. I'll double up the stock in one of 'em which will open up the other for all the lil' bits I carry in several different places... elec. splice connectors and ends, bulbs, fuses, screws, plumbers tape... yadda yadda yadda... 

Rather than two or three boxes of stuff all jumbled up I'll have a nice neat setup... Sweet! .. 'course...that means I gotta rework that front compartment a lil' now... to accept the new arrangement! ... like I said... I'm back to my Old RV Tinkering Ways! :o)

Schemin' and Dreamin' (as always!) Along the Front Range

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Night before Christmas and All 'Round the Camp...

Nobody could find the broken down Ol' Cowboy Biker Geezer... 'cause he'd gone AWOL for Christmas and was hiding out in Denver.

The Sun is shining, the New batteries are starting the truck. Josh an' Keriann whipped up Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast. Miss Jillian is keeping everyone hoppin' ... and so far... I've managed to avoid, the crazed shopping robots at the malls... for the most part.

Well... except for the Bass Pro Shop excursion... but then, goin' to Bass Pro... don't really qualify as Shopping does it?

That ain't shopping! That there is nothin' but a genuine Redneck Museum! :o)

I'd name names of all the folks I send Christmas Greetings to... but there's so many... and my Old Timers would be sure to engage my forgetfulness and slight someone so let me just wish Everyone who comes here a joyful and wonderful Christmas celebration.

And... A Very Special Christmas Wish... to all the Men and Women, and My friend "Z", now serving us all, on battlefields in far flung deserts across the world... Be safe this Christmas. I know what it's like to be far from home at this time of year. Be safe and know that you are all In Our Thoughts on this day.

Know also that we are so very grateful for, and appreciate the peace we live in. Peace that can only exist in the environment your sacrifices created for us... You are NOT forgotten. You WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. Merry Christmas, each and every one of you, and May God Bless Your Day.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The RV Community... Christmas Shopping and Toasted Batteries

If you've been following the last couple of days... I kind of started a lil' discussion 'bout making preparations in pursuit of the dream of goin' full time.

As you can guess... we don't all see things the same way... In a lot of places these days, unfortunately, that leads to some pretty heated "discussions". Seems like too many people are pretty intolerant of somebody else's point of view. Now, I'm all for bein' passionate 'bout what you think.

I've said it before... and I think I may have gotten it from Helen Keller... in my words, it's something along the lines of; "A life without passion just ain't worth a leaky bucket."

But passion don't mean, even a little bit, that you can justify rude behavior. Like Cap'n Call said; "I can't stand rude behavior in a man... won't tolerate it!" :o)

So... though folks come here and talk with passion... they've been doin' it with respect too... and that to me, is a the shining thing about the "RV Community".

Hell. Right here, we got one, broken down, grumpy, Ol' Cowboy biker... living hand to mouth, haulin' an old reworked Jayco, that comes from a world of cow flop an' choppin' ice... rubbin' elbows with guys like Ernie; who comes from the world of high technology and high finance. 

Though our histories are worlds apart we can share ideas and experiences with good humor and respect... and THAT... to me... is what it's all about... Shining Times!

Well... enough of that for a while! :o)

Yesterday, Miss Jillian decided that her Nanny an' Pappy should oughta take her to the Bass Pro Shop just across town from her folks house... so we borrowed her Momma's car, while She got dressed and ready to go do some serious shopping...

loaded her up in the car seat... and off we wandered, bound for Redneck Heaven!

*Bass Pro Shop in Denver*
I gotta tell you... her Ol' Dad may be in trouble... this lil' gal is a Power Shopper! and she knows what she wants...

She... just might be a Redneck Kid too! ...

*Hmmmm... something makes me think she wants an ATV!*
Leastways... if her choice of Toys means anything! :o) She sure seemed to be fond of the motorized "Toys"... but, after an afternoon in the Denver Bass Pro Shop... which just has got to be a Redneck Heaven ... she slept all the way home... likely dreamin' of Arctic Cats, Moose Mounts and Turkey Hunting videos...

OK... before anybody goes bananas on me... we did walk away BEFORE they pulled the trigger on the Turkey Video!!!... so... Chill! :o)

But you say..."The title of the post says "Toasted Batteries"... what's that about?"

well... OK... that actually is, a lil' inaccurate... I don't guess you can call 'em "Toasted" when they die and the temperature is in the 30's can you? :o)

It really wasn't much of a surprise. I knew from the way the truck has been starting the last few weeks, and the general appearance of 'em that they'd not be around much longer. Well... "Much Longer" turned out to be last night...

So... today was tee total booked up with appointments and other stuff... that we did with a borrowed car... Leaving Thursday morning... wide open for a trip to Costco... and the acquisition and installation of a pair of starting batteries for that Good Ol' Dodge Cummins. :o)

Darn!... I'll bet those batteries woulda lasted a good bit of a couple more weeks had we stayed down on the warm desert! :o)

Better go get my beauty sleep if I'm to be doin' an imitation of a battery mechanic in the morning.

Dreamin' of Redneck Toys along with the Grandbaby

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Differences of Opinion are Fine and Good...

And sometimes hearing someone else's point of view... helps clear up a mite of confusion in your own head... 'course being the self declared philosophizin' giant and genuine western hero that I am... I've seldom been known to admit to error or confusion... :o) ... ahem.... right...

The post I made yesterday brought a few comments that are due some sort of a response from the guy who wrote the post... don't you think? Considering the time of year... it's appropriate too... to consider all we've got... all we don't... and what really matters...

Now... before I get to that... there's something that needs saying... Lloyd and Shadowmoss are folks that seem to have a philosophy of "Balance", and that's something that gets lost... a lot...

Saving for the Future, is a good thing... a responsible thing... but NOT... if it totally consumes TODAY!

There has got to be some balance. You've got to enjoy the livin' of Today along with your saving... or it won't matter what you've saved up for tomorrow. What's the use of having a whole lot of "Stuff" saved up... if doing that saving, rendered you an angry, sour, bitter Ol' geezer... who hates everything and ever'body... Including the dollars you stacked up?!!!

So... think of Tomorrow... but don't Sacrifice the Living of Today in the process.

Now... on to a lil' more Cowboy Philosophizin'... and a lil' Corporate Chastizing!

Ernie told us how he, pretty much forced by his employer (said he wanted to keep his job) invested in the stock of his company... and now... 50 years later, is living pretty well as a result... and I'm sure glad for him... Lucky man.

But, I'm pretty darn sure that if you told the employees of Enron, Qwest, several Wall Street Outfits and a whole host of other Large Corporations that they should invest in the corporation they work for... they'd either take a swing at you... just laugh... or cry.

While I agree, that if you want to take off on the full time road, like I and thousands of other are doing... You Have Got to Plan for That future... I am NOT the guy that's gonna tell you to do it by investing in ANY corporation.

If you've read my gas for any length of time... you know I've got a fairly different opinion 'bout what I'd do... if it were my choice... and guess what? I'm, for the most part... doin' what I've opined is the way to go.

In the last four years or so, I have been dis-employed for exercising loyalty to my co-workers, raped of the legitimate, cost-of-construction value of my home and had our business heavily, negatively, impacted by the economic crisis imposed on us all.

And who was the culprit guilty of inflicting my whuppin'?  yup... you guessed it... Large, Corrupt, Corporations... all protected and supported by... uh oh... Large, Corrupt... Government! ... It's starting to sound like a pattern don't it? :o)

The only thing that protected us and what income we have left, is that our businesses are controlled, as much as can be in this world... by us. We are no longer at the mercy of employers who require you, at the cost of your honor... or the cost of your job if you fail... to dance to their tune and live and serve as indentured servants.

It is true that we've little cash in the bank, thanks to the whuppin' we've taken from those corrupt outfits I spoke of.

What we do have, is a source of ongoing income, from enterprises that we own; the little store we built in Colorado along with my websites and writing efforts. Our income is produced pretty much as we need it, and truthfully? I feel more secure in that, then I ever would... with cash in some investment controlled by... some... Large... Corporation... where I stand a pretty good chance these days, of either losing it to another Scheming Corporate Officer... or waiting to see if he's going to jail for it... or both!

In our own, personal, $$$ situation, what we had control of (our retail store) continues to provide for us, damaged by the actions of others, but adjusting and still goin'... what the Corporations had their claws deeper  into, Our House and its value in the market they control... is pfffffftttttttt! Through no fault of our own. (other than misplacing trust in corporations).

So... it's your choice... your option. Put your money into the hands of a Trustworthy? Corporation... or... Invest in Yourself.

Me... I'll keep on goin' down the road I picked.

Not Always the Right choices... but... They're Mine! :o)

Return to the main site of goin' RV Boondocking or Visit my Sister website Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road

Monday, December 20, 2010

Frugal Living... Christmas Holidays... and Chasing the Dream... a Tough Balancing Act! ...

For a broken down Boondocking Gypsy Biker Cowboy...

Three months, or nearly so, being for the most part... in quiet camps, on beaches and wide open country, has spoiled me... for sure and for certain.

Yeah we were using National Forest Campgrounds... but in the Off Season, which meant we were mostly alone. Many times, the only other RV around was the Camp hosts' outfit. Pretty darn private and peaceful.

Now... Getting back to "Civilization" in Phoenix and now Denver...for an extended period... is... uh... uncomfortable! I mean, when you've gotten pretty used to getting up in the morning, looking out the window and seeing nothing but woods, or lake, or ocean... or even the Utah Desert... and few if any... people!...

... it's a mite different to see houses, hear the dogs barking, horns honking and the trash truck bangin' the cans! ;o) ... then... make a run up the road to get some supplies to finish up a couple christmas leather projects... and the people pushin' and shovin'... whooooooowheee...

... I think I know what a chicken in a egg farm feels like!

I'm gonna need an Open Country fix... once we get past the Christmas Season.

It has been kind of a trade-off. Though we're back amongst a lot more population for a bit... we've gotten budget things... back in a lil' better balance... maybe.

The first couple months, once we got the rig on the road, I pretty much dented the budget with scratching that pent up, restless urge to move... and I can accept that... heck, I kind of expected it...

Now, with that itch relieved a bit, our budget is starting to catch up... having gotten back to a Long Camp routine for the most part... our fuel costs fairly plummeted...

Well... until we left for Colorado anyhoo. :o) but that, running bobtail... still comes close to squeezing into our balancing act...

Until we left to come to Denver I hadn't bought any diesel since the second of December... and still had 3/4 of a tank when we fueled to head north for our Colorado Christmas. yup... and the Raider don't use too much either!

juuuust a bit of an improvement over the previous 6 or 8 weeks of two or three tanks full each week! Ouch!!

Combine that fuel use reduction with zero camp cost since the last part of November when we were RV boondocked up on the Kaibab... and now, with the rig parked on the Back forty at my sisters for a couple weeks... we're actually runnin' under budget...

... even if I include reworking the motorcycle carrier into an RV Fifth Wheel Cargo Rack...

Polish that cheap living with .15 cent Ramen soup and plenty of PBJ! and it makes for frugal living. :o) ... good thing I ain't any sort of a gormet... well... I do require the best jelly! and none of that generic peanut butter! ... only the Good Stuff!

The rambling point here is... we're broke... pretty much hand to mouth livin'. Have been for quite some lil' while... look to be that way runnin' on into the future... unless of course Amazon suddenly starts whistlin' my book out the doors! :o)

I'm tee total sure that for likely the greatest majority of people, our situation would be a; "I could never do that" deal. They require a bit more certainty and knowin' of the future... even if that "knowing" is just imaginary.

But for me, what choice was there? Wait some more? Until... things got better? Nah... waitin' is not something I have any patience for any more... nope... just step off... and make something happen... good, bad or otherwise... just make things move... and let the chips fall where they may...

yup... we're broke... just like a lot of other folks... but, with a lil' careful cipherin' and cinchin' the belt up to the next hole... we're fittin' what we want... into what we got... we go where we have fuel to go... do without what we just can't afford... and keep on movin' on...

Where I end up... there's no way of knowin'... the Onliest thing I know, for sure and for certain... I may crash and burn... but it ain't gonna happen with me sittin' and waitin! :o)

... If You want Your "It" strong enough... you can squeeze "It" into whatever the reality of your camp is too.

Just... focus on what you really need. Shelter. Food. Water. Clothing, fuel... and Motorcycles!!! ALWAYS Motortcycles!!! :o)

... Most of the rest is only clutter...

Just remember... Nothing is exactly what's gonna happen... if Nothing... is what you do.

... The days wander by here in Denver... doing all the things you normally do, when you visit family... trying to see everybody you want to see... with ever'body runnin' around crazy...

I'm thinking... getting back to the Desert... and my Raider... will be a welcome thing! :o)

Wandering Away from the rig... in Colorado

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Me and that Guy Dreamin' of a White Christmas...

... need to have a lil' conversation... up close an' personal! That boy needs some learnin'!

It ain't all that great folks... Those of you that have been down on the desert the past few years may have forgot what it's like back up yonderways in the frozen North...

I think maybe those folks in Anthem... just north of Phoenix might could have the right idea...

* A snowy winter day in Anthem...
in the Arizona Desert! *
 Yup... have a couple trucks haul the snow in... watch the kids sled on it... while you stand around... On The Grass! in the 75 degree desert... and then... ride the Motorcycle home! THAT... is my idea of a Good Winter!

So... guess cuz I was gettin' forgetful... I'm now getting a lil' bit of a refresher course. :o)

Bein' up north with it 28 degrees on frozen, snow packed roads, and folks pushin' steel on it... that likely should have restrictions against drivin' on anything other than DRY pavement!

... and that on a Sunny day... with light traffic :o) is a refresher I could have done without...

* Fun and Snow on the Interstate of Northern New Mexico *
... If... I needed a reminder of one of the big reasons to winter on the desert... I done got it!

Yes sir... run a  couple hundred miles of this stuff... with dozens of cars, and trucks... and even semis... in the ditch on the door... upside down... bass ackwards... and every sort of way ... and oh yeah... I'm ready for ya'll to take me back to the desert where the only thing you can complain about is... "Damn! another... beautiful ... sunny... day!" :o)

Yup... I can't say I miss this stuff. I never been wha'cha might call a "winter" guy... chopping ice to water stock... and feeding at 15 below... just never excited me much. :o)

Any of you bettin' folks? Wanna bet what the weather is gonna be... long 'bout the 3rd of January? :o)

Know what? ... I think I'll wait to find out...

Sittin' in Denver... Dreamin' of Sunshine in the Desert! :o)

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Almost finished the RV Cargo Rack before we left...

Had the welding done... prepped and painted the steel... and wired up some new lights... 

of course... it being me... I had to wire three of 'em up backwards, with the brake element as running light, which, makes the brake/turn signal, almost invisible... so... had to go back and rework that lil' glitch. :o)

If you remember from old pics (forgot to take a fresh for this) the factory taillights were down where you can see those two white caps? ... that would put 'em below the boxes and generator that will be mounted on the rack... so... since those old lights were in iffy shape I replaced 'em and set 'em up higher to be visible.

... and capped the huge holes jayco put in, with electrical box covers from Home Depot...

Also added another set of marker lights in the center bar... I shouldn't have any visibility problems at night now!

Just have a lil' clean up to do, and secure some of the new wiring in place... along with mounting the storage box and Champion generator when we get back to the desert from Christmas in Denver...

Stayed in Albuquerque last night... cuz I was tired of  'dodging' all the other ... uh I'll be polite and call 'em Drivers...

*Early winter snow along I-40 in New Mexico*

my facebook pics don't enlarge well! :o)
.I don't know... it was slushy in places... and cold at 33 degrees... but... I sure can't say it was any excuse for all the cars and trucks I saw in the ditch, on tow trucks and in various forms of dented and smashed distress! :o)

I mean... lordy people... what's the deal? All I can figure is that too many folks are careless and not payin' attention when they're moving 60 miles an hour... when their driving should be holding their full attention? Kind of like that lil' gal that just about mounted her head on our rear bumper back in Utah a couple months ago?

Anyhoo... we'll be rollin' on to Northglenn... as soon as I suck down a lil' more coffee...

Oh... almost forgot... My brother-in-law has come up with a creative and shiny solution for three large problems in American society! and we can deal with 'em all... with just one... single... solution!

Yup! Just one.... a big, wide, ditch! only we let the pacific flow on in and make it a canal!

Uh Huh... a ditch... we dig it along the California/Arizona/New Mexico/Texas and Mexico border.

Take all the dirt from the ditch (canal) and fill in New Orleans so it ain't below sea level any more... then...

... we take all those troublesome alligators in Florida... and put 'em in the canal! :o)

Wa La! Three problems... One Solution! Suh-Wheet! :o)

Rolling North in the New Mexico Liquid Sunshine

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bikers, Boondockers, Welders.... and High Dollar Washers!

THE reason, for boondocking in the Arizona desert for the winter... Which, hooked up to my brother-in-laws-shop, we ain't just now! :o) ... is the Weather.

After weeks of wet and chilly in the Northwest... we're startin' to complain 'bout; "Oh Geeze...another... beautiful... day!" :o) ... what a bunch of whiners, huh? :o) My sister saw my pictures of the Alaska ride... and the ones she wanted copies of... are the ones with RAIN in 'em! :o)

Fired up the red head Sunday for a ride up around Bartlett Reservoir, NE of Phoenix... up around Carefree.

Winters in Colorado... the weaker bikers put their rides in the Garage... down here on the desert... they park 'em for the summer! something 'bout it not bein' fun, when your tires are melting off the rims and the wind on your face feels like a blast furnace. :o)

So... it now bein' winter in the desert... there just wasn't any shortage of motorcycles with the same Idea we had... for a run through the desert... kind of nice to see more bikes then cars on a road! :o)

Anyhoo... we rolled out through the desert, with the thermometer bouncing around 80... Hell, I even had to take the liners out of my jacket and chaps!

Funny... how every time that Road Star Raider catches up to riders on a .... certain brand of bike...

...their speed suddenly increases as they roll along the twisting asphalt... hmmm...

But... tryin' to shake my red Raider is like trying to outrun the wind! :o)

And just so you know... I would never, ever, stoop to such childish, testosterone driven behaviour! Nope not me... I'm the picture of  poh-lite cruising, when I'm astraddle that scooter!

uh huh... you bet...
... and if you want... I can stack those buffalo chips even higher! :o)

In truth though... I could get real used to this NOT feeling like a freezer burned steak in December... after I've been outside for a few minutes...

OH lordy, is it gonna be tough to go back into the frozen north in a couple of days!

But! ... I know it's only for a couple weeks, and then I retreat back to my Raider in the Desert!

So... after I dealt with 'biker behaviour'... and one goofball, goat haulin', girl in a pickup... who thought we'd look better sittin' on her hood, and invited us to climb up there... to which I... uh... politely? declined... we got up to the lake.

This is a place I've thought about boondocking for a while when we get back... Its' only real problem, for me, is that the campground is a couple miles up a dirt road... While dirt roads don't give me any special worries, this one goes down around the side of a mountain... and is fairly rocky and rutted.

With a pickup or motorhome... not an issue... but, the thought of havin' to negotiate that chunk of desert dirt, comin' and goin' any time I want to straddle the Raider... aw... I think I'll keep lookin'.

Being a Sunday... We missed stoppin' at the Ranger Station to gather a lil' more info 'bout Boondocking at the lake.

It's supposed to be a "Long Term" area... I just need to investigate a lil' more...

There might still be a possibility for picky whiners like me...

It's not the first time I've seen folks Boondocked on the banks of Bartlett reservoir... before I scratch it off my list of possibles... I need to talk to one of those ranger fellas... and find out the straight skinny on where and how you're allowed to squat by the water, like these folks did...

Now... back to that danged, never ending oil change/leak saga... hopefully it's' nearing its' conclusion... Went to NAPA... and bought a oil pan drain plug washer... that the book called for... not a big deal at $1.09 ... except of course... for the fact that it didn't fit...

So... what do you do? You give in and go to the dealer... to get the one that does fit... and for a lil' ring of fiberboard and neoprene... ya pay $9 bucks! :o) ... and the Dealers wonder why people resist doin' business with 'em?

Several people have recommended a ball valve, from an outfit called Lubrication Specialist LLC. It replaces the factory oil pan drain plug...and is designed to make changing the oil a simple deal... and I'm gonna put that in... with the next oil change... it just didn't fit into my dis-com-bobulated schedule this time. In the mean time... getting the correct washer in there seems to have retarded the trail of oil I've been leaving all over the Arizona Desert... from that leaky plug.

Just before we went back to draining the oil... one more time... out of that cummins... we got a good bit of the Cargo Rack rebuild done. My brother-in-law has a neighbor that did some welding on the construction of a Nuclear power plant.

I know... that's nothing like fabrication work on a fifth wheel... but I thought with that experience... he might could be trusted with the extreme difficulty of this project. :o)

But... even though it was a real challenge...  that Nuclear Welder stepped up and burned the cross bars in place.

We leave Thursday for the frozen North... not sure I'll be gettin' it buttoned up before then... but if I don't find any more excuses to Not Work... on it... I may get close to finishing the new Fifth Wheel Cargo Rack... before we leave....

But of course... that means I got to quit yakkin'... and start paintin' and boltin'... Oh yeah... and carvin' some leather to finish up a couple of Christmas projects...

I've decided... procrastination... just might not be a virture...

Workin' hard... at not workin' hard... in the Arizona Desert

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Leaks and Lessons... ain't it ALL Curious...

The Oil change saga of our Dodge Tow Vehicle continues... the Oil Drain plug was, apparently, the major source of the oil leak, and, it still is. It's not loose any more... but apparently... If you tighten up a loose oil drain plug, on a Cummins, when you replace it after draining the oil... you make it leak worse! :o)

... Soooooo.... I've got to drain the oil out of it... Again! So I can replace the washer on that recalcitrant drain plug. I'm losin' count of how many times the oil has been in... and out... of that engine. :o)

It's not like a drain plug is a complicated piece of equipment... and there ain't a wrong thing visible on the plug or the washer... but... sheesh... used to be drips under it... now, the drips are a puddle!

Not much to worry about... if that's my biggest worry... huh? :o) 

We took dinner over at my Big Sisters new home in Scottsdale night before last. Now There is a curious thing... I don't guess I've seen Sister Deb more than a half dozen times... in the last thirty years... She lived on the east coast... I was a... ahem... wandering 'gentleman'... that stayed in the west... we just never got together...

Well, they recently retired and moved to Arizona, where her side of the family lives... so we'll likely do a little makin' up for lost time...

I walked into a house of hers for the first time since 1970! Yep... that long! and damn! talk about contrasts! Kind of like that Diamond Necklace vs. Muddy Boots thing!

... and yeah... I'm the muddy boots. :o)

Ever seen or been in that kind of a place that, not any one thing jumps out at you, but the whole place together just kind of exudes a quiet, classy, kind of elegance? (see? it rubbed off on me... using more of those complicated, educated, kinds of words!) well... that's my sisters house... hell, both my sisters for that matter...

me?... uh... not so much.

The table was set like I'd expect to see at a White House Supper! I don't believe the Queen herself sets a better table ... Yep... I had to watch to see what fork ever'body else picked up to eat my salad! ... and still got in trouble... cuz I put my roll in the wrong dish! :o)

Sheesh! This bein' High Class takes a lot of learnin'! I'm used to a dented canteen cup, a chipped enamel coffee pot and a rusty iron pan!

So... What's curious? Well... considering I'm talkin' of two people that came from the same, exact house... one goes east and turns out, polished, stylish and refined... and the other turns west... and well... let's just say... uh... turns up again, but... uh... Refined  is definitely NOT the word that comes to mind when folks start lookin' for one to use in this description! :o) Some do say... crusty, grumpy, occasionally profane... and a few other words I'll not print on this Sunday mornin'! Few if any think to use the word... 'gentleman' in a sentence describing the Ol' cowboy biker ya'll know I'm talkin' 'bout.

I just think it's curious, how life after your teens can still shape and change who you are, so much. You hear it all the time, that folks are supposed to be pretty much set, who they are and how they think, really early in life... and then that's it... I've always hated that idea... 'cause it sure limits your future don't it?

If events can 'Set' you... in a place that turns out to be Not where you want to be Settin' it would sure throw a bent rail under your train... if you couldn't reroute the train. I wonder how many folks, run through life... thinkin' that the train they're ridin'... is the onliest one available to 'em?

I like thinkin' I'm the guy holding the reins... that this Ol' Hoss goes where I say go... 

Oh I'm not claiming that jumpin' trains is an easy thing... No Sir! You've seen the movies... guy jumps off the rollin' box car and WHUMP! ... gets up all torn and scuffed... but he gets up, don't he? and right then... he's already confronted maybe the biggest fear... so the rest should be easy... right? :o)

... What train are you stuck on?

Ain't it curious that a Supper with a Sister... get's a broken down Ol' geezer... thinkin' 'bout trains and such... I think I'll put that Raider to Splittin' the Wind on some Open Road today... that always clears out my brain pan when the cobwebs get tangled!

Sortin out the Mysteries on the Desert

Friday, December 10, 2010

Little Boys and Their Toys... or the Creation of a Fifth Wheel Cargo Rack

What is it, about males and machinery?

Did you ever see the kid on Christmas Day? He gets a brand new bicycle?... and by the end of the day he's got it in pieces?

Momma asks; "Why'd you have to take it apart?"... Kid, sittin't there in the center of a bunch of parts, looks back up at her with a dumb look; "I dunno!" :o)

Slick wasn't hardly down the road... and we went to work. I'd spent the morning building a couple pages for the Motorcycle Site... and needed a "physical" break from button punching... so I went out and started unbolting a few pieces and parts of the Cowboy II motorcycle carrier I've spent so much time evolving...

Sheesh! :o) ... that's like opening a bag of M&M's and sayin'; "I'll just eat a couple" ... Yeah... sure you will! 'fore I knew it... the carrier was gone... and we were cuttin' and hangin' steel!...

*Another Evolution of the 'rack' on the tail of the Fiver*
We're parked way out back at my sisters place... makes for some privacy... and also puts the Eagle, right next to the shop... hmmm... ain't that convenient!

Amazing how long it takes to put the pieces on... and how fast a fella with an angle grinder and a cutting wheel, can take 'em off.

Now...we're schemin' an' cipherin'... and calculatin'... how and where... this an' that... are gonna fit.

With the V Star gone, there's no need for a motorcycle carrier on the Fiver... since the Raider is just too big a scooter... to ride back there. I might could get away with it... but... even with my risky way of doin' some things... even I can't get comfortable with that idea... SO... that Motorcycle carrier is gone, and in it's place we're constructing a Fifth Wheel Cargo Rack.

The new Champion Generator, the Aluminum Cargo Box  the and leveler pad box... for sure... and maybe something or two else will come off the truck and go back there, all neat and clean... and that's gonna open up, and clean up the truck bed... which is a good thing... Suh-Wheet!...

We've got a welder borrowed... or at least promised... I'm hopin' to burn the steel before we take off for Denver... if not... we'll buzz it in as soon as we get back...  

 Got some rewiring to do of lights and such, but basically it'll be a good deal. a little better security for the generator... being securely bolted in place rather than just a locking cable... We'll likely weld the bolts once it's bolted down... That'll slow down the weaker thieves... There's a Winchester handy that's good for the more dedicated parasites! ;o)

I've got some more Layin' Out to do... before we go startin' fires... so I'll get to it.

Burning Daylight... and Steel, Down on the Desert

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lightening the Load... Unexpectedly Easily...

Losing some weight, fits into our long range plan to get smaller... And since "Riding her own" just didn't prove out as a strong enough attraction for Heidi. We'd decided to shed 500+ lbs of fine motorcycle, by selling the V Star. I thought maybe we could get it done, before we leave for Denver... Had no notion, that selling that Motorcycle would take a little less than 3 hours!

*Slick the V Star, all shined up and ready to go*
 The Craigslist ad went up 'bout 2:30 yesterday... got the first call about 20 minutes later! ... the second call shortly after that... the first guy didn't show... the second did, just before five... and he was pulling a motorcycle trailer!

Now that gives a seller the idea that just maybe, this guy is serious. 

By a quarter after five the deal was done... the cash was in my pocket... the title in his... and by 5:30 the bike was loaded, and Slick was rollin' away down the road... on somebody else's trailer.

It's a strange deal. Most people will look at a guy who says such things as I'm about to... and then look at their friends, roll their eyes, and spin their finger in a circle on the side of their head... :o) but... that don't change the reality for a buster like me... it's a sad thing to sell a Horse... or a Motorcycle.

Now, I'm pretty sure nobody would say much if I said I was selling a horse I'd had for some little while. People seem to understand feelings about critters... everybody having so many dogs and such...

But... gettin' all melancholy over a motorcycle?... what? Did they change my Meds or something? :o)

I know, they're just a clever combination of bolts, and rubber and aluminum castings... they aren't alive... but ... that right there is the point that guys like me argue about... It's part of that "If I have to explain, you won't understand", Old Saying in the Biker world, when folks ask "Why do you ride?"

The thing is... when you have something that strikes so deep inside you... You find it hard to believe that there isn't Something else there; That it isn't more than just metal and rubber.

When you cover so many fine miles... on a machine that instills such a feeling of Freedom and "Wholeness" in your life... When something has the power, when everything around you is in turmoil... to calm your spirit... for that time you're able to twist the throttle and roll... It's just not credible to a fella like me to believe that there isn't something more, something others can't see... something living and breathing... inside that metal and rubber machine.

Aw well... I've still got the Raider... and She ain't goin' No Where!!! :o) and yeah... I'll go see about those meds.

Hugging the Motorcycle I have left...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nothing Exciting Goin' on... So I'll Fill The Propane...'s  been quiet for a couple days... Gave Slick a bath yesterday in prep top Sell her off... So, maybe I'll pull the Propane bottles and get 'em filled up... that should be good for some excitement... eh?

It's been decided to sell the '01 V Star. Heidi decided she prefers sittin' back seat to ridin' her own... Makes no sense to haul that 500 lbs around, not to mention the wear an' tear, riding back there in the dust and dirt, if it's not gonna get rode, so we'll send her to a new home.

Put a lot of miles on that bike... she'll be needin' a new clutch... but her tires are strong! ... so I'm hopeful somebody'll come along that wants a good Star motorcycle, at a decent price... and then I'll go to remodeling the motorcycle carrier into something else! :o) since that long legged red head (Yamaha Star Raider) is too big a gal to sit back there :o)

Actually I never had any worries 'bout a 500 lb bike on the tail of the fiver... all the numbers were well within "capacaties"... buuuuuut... 750 lbs pushes up close enough to that line... that I juuuuuuuuust can't get comfortable with the idea... so....

Then there's that idea that John Q and Mark 'N Bobbie got me afflicted with... "Small is Good"...

I suppose that 9,000 miles of two wheels, runnin' the Alcan in August had its part too. But, the consequence is still the same... I'm not likely to do a whole lot more "remodeling" of this rig... when the "Itch" is growing... to get smaller.

... yup... that's me... never static.. always Lookin' up at the Horizon... always wonderin' "What if? Maybe I could...?"... always schemin'... Life in the West! :o)


This is the first December, in quite a good number of years, I've found myself wanderin' around in shirt sleeves. 74 or so in the valley yesterday... back in Colorady... I think it was 50 somethin'... 'course, with the wind whistlin' at nine-oh... that feels like 29!

Feels kind of odd. Guess  when you're used to loadin' up on long johns, sweaters, insulated vests, heavy coveralls and thick gloves, this time of year... it takes a lil' acclimatin' to get used to NOT!

The Eagle is gonna set here on its roost in Glendale, for another 10 days or so... and then quite a few more! We'll leave it here, for our bob-tail run back to Denver for Christmas with the kids... and then come back and hitch up, just after the first of the year...

Plans are, for now anyway, to hit the Desert at Quartzite for a week in mid January... then I'm thinkin' there's some lakes over east... maybe some high desert down south a bit... though... what with all the "stuff" goin' on that they keep off the news... I'll have to do a little investigatin' before I decide to go very far into that area.

I've been advised that I "might not want to boondock down there"...

You know, there's something wrong there... What the hell?

I mean... when a National Park is largely closed to the American People... I mean locked up, as in; you're not allowed in there... because of the "Invasion" of illegals and drug runners through there... (Organ Pipe National Park) Makes a fella wonder some about the feds jumpin' on Arizona for trying to protect its own citizens... who's side are They on anyway? Where the heck is the Fed. Govt. loyalty settin'?

Would seem they're more interested in protecting the ability of some folks to ignore and break the law...than... the safety and security of the American People... curious ain't it?

Oh well... you knew I didn't have much respect for anything that describes itself with the word politician anyway...

It's just... I can't say that I ever thought part of my decisions about where I'd set a winter camp would be made wonderin' 'bout where it would be "Safe" from an armed foreign invasion... That's just not a concern I ever thought I'd have...

Well... if I'm to get on the news... with some story about a "Big Bang"... guess I better get to unhookin' those propane bottles! ;o) ... you might want to stay inside for a little while? Like Sharlotte said... there's only one guy who could turn an oil change... into a novel... and this here... is PROPANE... HooYa! :o)

It's a new world out there kids!

Scrubbin' Motorcycles and playin' with gas on the Arizona Desert

Monday, December 6, 2010

Just Had My Redneck Card Revoked!

It's a humiliating thing... hell of a deal to get de-graded from bein' a redneck biker cowboy... to a Flunked out... redneck has-been!

That Ol' Cummins powered Dodge has been in desperate need of an oil change... and to be honest, poverty is a poor excuse for lack of maintenance... it'll come back and haunt you with expenses a lot higher than the maintenance...

But... the tight budget... and the fact that I hate... I hate... I HATE mechanicin'... combined to delay the required work... My Bad! But what can I say... A lot of years ago, I was a bit of a dandy... Tight jeans, fancy boots, and fancier shirts... Gettin' greasy is something that just makes my lip curl... top that off with busted knuckles and dents in your head from crawlin' around under a dirty piece of machinery...

... So... my "way" has been, for a long time to sit in the waiting room of some auto service center or mechanic shop drinkin' their free coffee and readin' magazines... while THEIR boys get greasy, busted and dented! :o)

... and I keep my purty self... Clean and Purty! :o) , yeah,Well... enter.. more austere times...

My brother-n-law and me decide that we'll go to Wal Mart... get the oil, filter etc... and get that Cummins back up to snuff. Not so hard for a couple of Ol' boys... right?

...and we "don't need no stinkin' directions!" ... right? I mean... it's a freakin' Oil change on a pickup... not rewiring the space shuttle!

All went well... right up to firin' that Cummins Diesel back up... hell, we even discovered that the oil leak that has been growin' a bit, was likely just a loose drain plug... which itself could have turned into another "story" :o)

anyhoo... I check the oil level... Huh? Where'd all that oil come from? I mean, it shoulda just been; drain out the oil... fill the new oil  filter... reinstall it... fill the sump... all done... right?

Nope... there's something like a half gallon too much oil in the damn thing!!! Huh? You take 12 quarts out... put 12 quarts in... you should be in the same place... right?

Yep... IF ... the engine held 12 quarts... which it don't... ???? Huh? I would have bet half my liver and both my kidneys, that engine held 12 quarts... and I'da been now looking for a dialysis machine... geeze!

Bud didn't have no idea 'bout it... wasn't his truck... and he runs a Powerstroke anyway! :o)

So... there I am, having to crawl back under and loosen up that drain plug... carefully... 'cause all I need to do is drain a couple quarts of high dollar oil... back out... to get the level where it was supposed to be... only... I took to much back out... DOH!!! and had to pour some back in... aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh!

Dang near wore that oil out... pourin' it back and forth! :o) but I did save a bundle, maybe half? of a store bought oil change, which the budget appreciates...

but... what the heck! I've been driving these Cummins for a long dang time... this '99 has held 10 quarts for a ... Long Dang Time... where in the heck did the For sure and for certain, KNOWLEDGE, that it held 12 come from? ... I'm tellin' ya'll ... this Early Old Timers is gettin' fearful in it's devastation of busted up Ol' Geezers!

Aw well... bet I don't get that crossed up again... for a while anyhoo...

Washin' off the grease on the Arizona Desert

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Did You Know That Yamaha Builds A Time Machine?

Yup they do!

Works like this... Old busted up Geezer climbs on a Yamaha Raider... twists the throttle... puts his knees in the wind on the open road... he ain't an Old Busted up Geezer no more! He's Young an' Purty!... :o) Works like a champ...

Also... yesterday morning I discovered that it also has the ability to bend time! Uh Huh, it does!

We've been gettin' awful lazy... gettin' started behind schedule in the morning is becoming a bit of a routine... so... when we climbed on the bike to ride up to meet Mark and Bobbie for lunch in Sedona... we were a half hour late getting started for the two hour ride...

Only... it wasn't a two hour ride... ya see... that big red Yamaha slows down the clock! and cuts that run to just an hour and a half ride... You do the math... to make up a whole dang half hour... in that distance... whoooooowheee! That big Red Raider Yamaha was movin' Baby! :o)

Even if... these Arizona folks don't let the grass grow much...

*Thought cruising the Raider at 90 was movin' along - till I got passed by a trailer load of mattresses!!*

... and it got us there, right on time for our link up with the Johnson's... though... those couple of Highway Troopers we rolled past had me a mite nervous once or twice...

I think what happened was... they heard somethin'... looked up... and didn't see a thing!... We were already a gone song! :o) You know it's a good bike when the lawdogs eyes can't even keep up!

Yup... I'm a baaaaaad cowboy! :o) and I expect to hear a lot less guff 'bout bein' such a SLOW old decrepit geezer!

*Brian, Mark, Bobbie, Heidi*
Took our time swappin' lies and secrets... and Nope... I ain't gonna tell... secret handshake and all, ya know... We did some window shoppin' in town to walk off some of the groceries, while we finished up our too quick visit... Was a really nice day... and THAT, little thing right there, is one of the things I like 'bout my Home State of Arizona... Sittin' in shirt sleeves, in December... outside... in the Sun... to share a meal. :o)

Only trouble with yesterday was that it Was a day trip... so we had to take our leave for the ride back to the rig in Glendale... 'course, that does have a silver lining, don't it? I mean... It just ain't THAT hard, to climb back on the Raider... to roll out another hundred or so miles! :o) Leastways, not for me! So, even if you have to say goodbye to friends for another long while... that poke don't hurt quite so much, when you can soften it with two wheels.

Made a quick loop through Oak Creek Canyon... hit the head of the canyon, and swapped ends to run for Glendale... 'bout the time I started seein' the signs of wet on the road... which meant that the snow, that's up on top of that end of the canyon... had filtered down to the bottom... for at least a little while... and I've got no need for seein' that just now... so turn back south...and run for the warm! :o)

*Yamaha Raider making up time on I-17*

*Hazy day in the Red Rocks of Sedona*

There was this One Thing... for years... ever'where we'd go... women would run up and tell herself... "Do you know your husband looks just like Sam Elliot?"

What do yo think? I don't see the resemblance... Hell... there ain't no big fly on MY cheek! :o)

Well kids... it's back to work for me... gotta get that next great western hero out of trouble!

Warming in the Arizona Sun

p.s. I just discounted ALL my ebooks for the Holiday Season to just .99 !!! Might take a day for Amazon to update its' system for "A Matter of Honor" and as much as a month for it to filter down to Barnes and Noble... But Smashwords has EVERYTHING, RV books and "A Matter of Honor" at just .99 cents...

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Eagle has Roosted in Glendale Arizona

But don't start gettin' all fidgity worryin'; "has it roosted or crashed?"... It's most like those Gooney birds landing out on that pacific Island.... sort of a controlled crash! :o) a .. kerwhump with a grin.

We'll be making some circles out from here for a bit... two wheels and four... while we "put on a lil' weight", get some work done, do some visiting... yadda yadda yadda...

Listen up all you Wayfarin', Full Timin', Wanderin', RVers... who are as broke as me! This here is another "Tip", Take Note!...

IF... you live too... with a budget strung as tight as a Banjo String...

... make sure you ... uh ... don't do any imitations of... uhhhh ... the waaaaay too many... many, many, days you'll find on my back trail... where, when you look back all you can see is the smoke... of the fires... of all the bridges you set fire too! :o)

Ya see fellow Gypsies... it'll come in handy... when you get to wanderin'... to have a few places... like Mark an' Bobbies, Krea an' James... Kerry up in B.C., or my Sisters' place in Phoenix... to park your rig and set a bit... without having to haul water, keep your generator from bein' stole! ... and all the other necessities of RV Living. (and! have a shop available for improvements and/or needed maintenance!)

... along with... Nice... Cheap... Rent, for your parkin' space! :o) (just make sure you put in enough work on Their place, or whatever... so that they'll want you to come back... Once... in a while!)

Now... all I gotta do is find out what I did to torque off those Ouray people, that provoked 'em to go and build a mine shack... right in the middle of my parking place!

... and I'll get right on that too! We got the Raider down, soon as we pulled in yesterday afternoon. This morning, she's gonna stretch her legs, and carry us up to Sedona to visit with those "Ouray" Gypsies... while they're on a Warm Up circle from the High Rockies.

Then... tomorrow there's a family "concert"... a family dinner next week... this and that... you know the drill...

I gotta tell you something... it's harder to deal with THIS weather...  than that easy torrential rain and 25' surf, out on the coast... Yes sir... 75 degrees when I was off loading the bikes yesterday... sheeesh... I was sweating! That sun was a real cooker!... what the hell is up with that? :o)

... yeah... right; now... about that seaside cottage of ours in Nebraska you were interested in... :o)

I was wonderin' a little as we dropped the ramp, but, poor Ol' neglected Slick fired right up... two months and better just hangin' on the back... and she fired right off... So now, I gotta get her shined up... and ready... It's pretty much been decided that Heidi prefers back seat to driver on a scooter... so the V Star deserves a new garage to live in... where she'll get rode hard every day...

... OK, OK...  What a bunch of dirty Ol' Geezers... get your minds out of the gutter!... :o)

anyhoo... gotta get her in sellin' shape... that's one of our tasks for this winter... baskin' in the Arizona Sunshine... at least when I'm not Spittin' the Arizona wind on a big red Star Raider!

Two Wheels... Splittin' the Wind for Sedona

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Elk Hunters in Arizona... They Win Some... They Lose Some...

Judging by the Elk camps, ATV's and Pickups cruising the back roads on the Kaibab, it's Hunting Season, still, in Arizona.

I've always wondered... when you're rattling around on a fire engine red ATV... that a deaf man can hear coming for 600 yards... Or rumbling around, road hunting, in your big Ol' diesel Powerstroke... Why... bother spending a couple hundred bucks... for all that Camouflage Clothing? :o) I mean... they don't REALLY think they're hiding... Do They?

hee hee hee... Sorry... They just make me giggle!

Really... a lot of these guys crack me up.When you watch 'em walk it's pretty clear they seldom get more than 40' from the seat of a pickup... the only walking they do is when they haul another six pack out of the Safeway! :o)

OK... I'll be nice...

So... we're off on our walk yesterday... and we Did go something over 40 feet... I'd guess, by the time we made the circle... better than 7 miles. Not too bad for an army cripp.

Now... just to keep it honest... we'll walk a ways... but that 7 miles gets done in likely twice or better the time it would take Mark and Bobbie! :o)

That... and the fact that the trails we usually follow go this way ______ and the trails Mark and Bobbie run are usually about 90 degrees different... know what I mean? :o) Yup... They're HIKERS...we're... uh... Strollers! :o)

anyhoo... we'd only strolled a mile or so... and found ourselves following the trail of what I took to be a Bull...

 He was walking himself down the same road we were following, through the Junipers across the Arizona range. Now, while we were enjoying the sunshine... my guess? He came along in the early morning dark.

So... what's the big deal... nothing special about Elk tracks in the Arizona mountains...

Well... have you ever seen one of those cartoon type paintings of the Elk Hunter? He sits sleeping against a log after eating his lunch on the mountain?... while a couple of "Royals" (BIG Bull elk) walk across the park, 30 feet behind him? :o)

These tracks gave me kind of a flavor of one of those paintings...

See the Elk Camp... behind where Heidi is pointing at the location of our nice fresh Track? :o)

I loved it... those hunters have been burning gallons of gas on their ATV's... peering off into the Junipers...

The only thing funnier, to me.. is when one of the brazen buggers walks right in, and there, surrounded by all those sleeping, great white hunters... leaves a nice fresh, steaming, Pile... right in the middle of camp! :o) LOL!!!!

Sorrrrrrrry.... I guess I'm bein' a lil' sacrilegious... Not a very good Redneck, am I? :o) Sometimes, I just can't help myself... Bad Cowboy! No Beer!

Makes for a good chuckle though... on a shiny day in the far country of Arizona.

*Arizona Prickly Pear... Arizona Flowers?*

*Backroading the other day in Arizona*
Ya know... only a guy like me goes 4 wheeling/back roading... with a Yamaha Raider in the back! :o)

*Ho Hum... Another Arizona Sunset*
It's cool, but the sun is shining and there's a story awaiting more tap tap tapping... a few more walks before we move on to Phoenix...

On the Arizona Range