No Joy

No Joy On the Home Front

We’ve had some very strange weather here. The week I got home it was too hot (in the low 80’s), the next week was really nice (in the 70’s) and the 3rd week it was winter! We got a couple inches of snow on October 7, which was a huge surprise to me; my weather forecast app was an epic fail! Thankfully it went away quickly, as my boots and snow shovel were still in storage. Since then we’ve had very cloudy days with periods of rain and several nights well into the 30’s. We even had a bunch of rain from Hurricane Rosa, which came out of the Pacific and up from Baja. I sure never thought I’d be experiencing any hurricane weather here. Whatever happened to nice sunny Arizona weather!

I’ve been procrastinating working on the house by picking up trash that got strewn all around, and pulling up those nasty weeds. I did tear off the shredded plastic and got a good look at the cow damage. It’s really only in two spots, where the hardware cloth has been torn and ripped away from the underside of the floor joists. I see that I can just put a new hardware cloth patch over those spot, but I’ll have to have access under the floor. There’s only 8 ½” of space between the ground and the bottom of the joists, and I don’t know if I can slither in there, and worse; could I slither back out? I can so easily picture myself having to call 9-1-1 to be extracted!! I’d be laying there with my feet stuck out, like the Wicked Witch of the West when the house fell on her. Perhaps I should buy some ruby slippers and a pointy hat.

 

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So that’s where it stands. That hardware cloth is my rodent-proofing. If there’s even a tiny gap in the hardware cloth, then the whole thing is worthless. And there seems to be a lot of mice & rats around here; I’ve had rat infestations under a house floor in the past and it’s horrible! I thought I was so smart……   I’m pretty much paralyzed with fear, and I can’t get anything else done until this is fixed or the whole idea abandoned.

I’ve been really struggling with internet issues too. For a couple years I happily paid only $5 a month for unlimited Verizon internet with a $100 Mifi device I bought on ebay. Then I guess Verizon wised up and quit taking the $5 refill cards, and now I only have whatever I can get on my phone, which isn’t much. My phone is very small and really difficult to type on, plus there’s some other issue with not getting any emails through on the phone! The cheapest internet I can get here is $60-75 a month, and if I did that, it would mean I’d only have $75-150 a month to put towards house construction! I don’t have to tell you, that just won’t work. So I’ve been going to the local library to use their free internet, but it’s really awful. It’s so slow, a lot of websites time out before they connect! And according to my Kindle, it would take 2 hours to download one book or magazine. The library ladies said “Oh no, you can never download anything from here; you have to go to XX or ZZ Library! (One is 25 miles away and the other is 30 miles)  So I am stuck with only being able to downloads books once a week, when I go to town for groceries. I guess I am weaning myself away from being an internet addict, but the withdrawal pains are horrible! Maybe when my car is paid off next July I can get internet here. Sigh……that’s a long ways away.

The only good news I have is that the cold nights have killed off the zillions of house flies that were tormenting me for the past couple of weeks.

My blog site was down for several days but I finally got it fixed. Sorry if you were unable to access it.

Here are a few links to Amazon products; feel free to use one of these links to access Amazon.  I really appreciate it!

Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh Carpet Odor Eliminator

Futuro Sport Deluxe Ankle Stablizer

 

Posted in Arizona, DIY Micro House, DIY Tiny House, Micro House, Off-grid living, Ownen-built tiny house, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Home Sweet Home

I left Silverton on 9/21, stopped for some much-needed groceries in Durango (they are hideously expensive in Silverton) and headed for home.

I stayed overnight at a nice little camping area between Mancos and Cortez, CO. It was just two miles from Mesa Verde National Park, and only ½ mile off Hwy. 160. I was worried about being able to get a site on a Saturday, and so close to the park. That’s one thing that has always amazed me during the 3+ years I traveled……that there are lovely free campsites within a few miles of nearly every national park, and I’ve never NOT been able to get a site anywhere I’ve gone! I find it very hard to understand why people will pay $8-20 for a site in an established campground with no amenities except a picnic table and rustic vault toilet, when there are always free campsites nearby. Is a stinky outhouse worth $8-20?? I’m proud to say that I didn’t spend a cent on campsites during this past 4 month adventure.

So….I’m home. First of all, I was shocked to see that my driveway has completely disappeared!! It was just a two-track off the graveled road but I didn’t think the weeds would completely take over and obliterate it.

Before I even stopped the car my Russian neighbor was here welcoming me home. Sigh. I was tired and my back & shoulders were killing me and all I wanted to do was get the camper parked, and I had to deal with HER. She said her dog “pooled me here”. It’s a 10# Pug…it can’t POOL her anywhere unless she lets it!! It’s a horrible bratty thing, completely untrained and wild. Anyway I asked her (fairly nicely) to let me get the camper parked, and that I’d had a long day of driving, and she went away. I’m 100% sure she’ll be back today. And tomorrow, and the next day. This is the worst thing about coming home; having to deal with her visits. I think twice a month would be more than enough visits, and she thinks once a day is appropriate. I just want to be left alone, unless some REAL friends want to visit. And I really hate having to deal with this situation!

When I travel, everything above the hinge line of the camper goes on top of the bed, held in place with an adjustable painter’s pole across the width of the camper. When I got home, for some reason a bunch of mashed potato flakes had escaped their box and snuggled into my fleece sheets!! What a mess. I’ve tried two different whisk brooms and they are not wanting to go…they are clinging desperately to that fleece. I’m going to have to invest in a car vac I guess. I need a little battery-powered vacuum anyway. So last night I slept on mashed potatoes. (Good thing I don’t wet the bed)

My camper door made it home intact, and in fact I’ve learned how to open and close it without making it come apart. That gives me a little more time to study it and figure out the best way to fix it.

There’s an awful lot of work to be done here to get it back to where it was when I left! I’m shocked at how many nasty foot-tall weeds have grown up everywhere. They’re the kind that get into Roxie’s coat and make mats, so I think the first thing on the agenda is to pull up a lot of those weeds so she can go out and go potty without picking up a new batch of Bad Things every time.

I had left some bags of garbage on top of an old pallet shed….I can’t remember why I was unable to take them to the dump but of course some animals got into them and now I have trash strewn all over the place. At least it’s all dried out now and I don’t have to pick up mushy, ooky stuff.

And my little house has been damaged a bit. I carefully stapled ¼” hardware cloth to the underside of the floor frame, then flipped it over. This is supposed to keep rodents out. Well in three places, the rigid foam is broken and the hardware cloth is hanging down! In order to repair it I’m going to have to take some wire and “sew” the pieces back together, and figure out a way to get underneath and staple it back in place, and in at least one of the spots, I have to somehow weave some wire in to hold it back together.  I’m afraid that means I have to lie on the ground, and I may never be able to get back up! Maybe I should have my phone on me so I can call 9-1-1.

The neighbor Elena was just here again. She told me the COWS did the damage to the house! There’s not much water around here and after a rain, it would pool up a little bit on the plastic I stapled on. Well apparently the cows were so desperate to get to the water, they tried to walk on my floor frame!! Geez I sure never thought to guard against THAT.  

Also I left a 20# propane tank here that had a leak. I was going to go exchange it for a different tank but didn’t have time before I left, but since it was leaking, I didn’t want to put it in my storage space. I thought I hid it pretty well but I guess not. Oh well…..I was very surprised to see my glass-topped patio table still here; I thought for sure someone would steal that.

So……time to go back to work! And just as I thought, it’s still too hot here. The day I got home my thermometer said 83. Ugh. I must say, the nights are very pleasant though, nicely cool but not so cold that I need the heater. It should start cooling down soon. I hope so because I have a lot of work to do and I have rules against exerting myself when it’s hot.

AWK! I just went outside and I have a flat tire. Ugh, I sure don’t look forward to trying to explain to the road service folks how to get here. There are SIX turns once you leave the highway!

 

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Heading Home

Well I guess I’ll be heading towards home tomorrow.  I’m having a lot of trouble with my camper door. It’s  trying to fall apart, and if it succeeds, I’d rather be home than in bear country. I guess it started back at the beginning of my trip when the camper roof latch popped off going over a big bump, and the door came open and flapped around for awhile, and the piano hinge got hyper-extended. I’ve been having minor problems wth it not wanting to shut every since.

The problems have been getting worse and worse, and last night I noticed that it was hanging more than halfway off the hinge! In hindsight, perhaps it was not such a good idea to keep trying to slam it shut. And the kicking probably didn’t help either.  Every time I open the door, it comes apart for more than halfway up, and I have to push it all back together in order to get the door shut. It’s only a matter of time before that whole strip is going to come off, and then I won’t have any way to keep the door on the camper.

It’s not the hinge though. The door is nothing but a square of 1/8″ luan plywood sandwiched between an inch of styrofoam, with 1/2″ aluminum C-channel all around the outside. The hinge is screwed into this aluminum C-channel, and it’s the channel that’s coming off. I thought at first I could just screw it back on, or even drill new holes for screws if I had to. But I can’t figure out what’s holding that channel on….maybe glue?? There aren’t any screws, and I don’t really think that screwing through just 1/8″ of plywood would hold anything for very long, especially with the bumps of the road.

So. It’s still a little warmer than I like at home, but I’d rather be there with this door thing going on.  It’ll take me two days to get there. I am ready to NOT have to move every 10-14 days!

 

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Centennial Complete DVD Set

The Beatles: 1962-1966

VetriScience Dental Health Powder for Cats and Dogs

Posted in Colorado, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Still in Silverton

In this little camping area there are only 7 or 8 sites. Seven are filled, and we have an interesting array of camping styles. There’s me in my mini-A-frame camper; a truck camper, a Class C RV, a cartop tent camper, a tent, a van  camper and a motorcycle popup camper! What an assortment!

Right across the river is another camping area (Sultan) that had 8 campers all crammed together, plus 3 utility trailers. It was a group of men who went around in camo and blaze orange, so I guess they were hunting. They used noisy generators (and not nice quiet Hondas; more like the cheap Harbor Freight kind). They all left yesterday and I noticed a huge rack of elk antlers in one of the trailers, so I guess at least one of them went home happy. So glad to see the generators leave! Now I can hear the river’s song again.

I found out there’s a Fat-Chance-Belly-Dance convention here in town this week! You don’t suppose that’s why there are so many campers here now? Surely not. Here’s the photo from the event ad…….hmmm.

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NO, THIS IS NOT ME!!!!

I am missing my friends a lot today. I’m usually OK with being totally alone since I’m an Extreme Introvert, but even introverts need friends. And mine are all far far away, and busy with their own lives. I haven’t seen any of them for more than a year and a half!

We’ve been having brilliantly sunshiny days and cold nights….in the low 30’s! I see snow on the higher mountain peaks pretty often in the mornings. The daytime temps are only in the high 60’s but the sun makes it seem warmer. The fall colors are brilliant and very beautiful, but I just can’t capture it on camera.  

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Between my campsite and town there’s a marijuana farm, offering free farm tours. The sign says you have to be over 21 to take the tour, and I wonder why. Surely they don’t give out free samples at the end of the tour??

I went to town today and saw 5 moose near the side of the road! There was one young bull, two cows and two half-grown calves. I got a couple pics of the bull but the others kept hiding in the bushes so  all my photos of them were the kind where you have to say “There’s a moose in that picture, really there is!”.

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Return to Silverton

I’m in Silverton! I decided not to go to New Mexico this trip, but just head towards home. Silverton is about 50 miles out of route, but I love it here and I wanted to see the fall colors. They haven’t even started in the lower elevations, but they’re looking pretty good here. I think peak color is probably another week or so away. At the top of Molas Pass (between Durango and Silverton) they were brilliant!

I was here at exactly the same time last year but this year the campsites are crammed full of people!! Last year I had a whole cul-de-sac in Kendall camping area to myself, and that same place now has 5 campers in it! So I ended up at Anvil, which is just a little ways farther up the road, and much smaller, only 6 sites. I got a nice pull-through site right on the Animas River. It’s only about 4 miles from town so I even get a bit of a cell signal.

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I left Poncha Springs and drove about half way; stayed overnight near Pagosa Springs. The sites I was aiming for were 4 miles from the main road. It was one of the worst roads I’ve ever been on!! Full of potholes; it took me 30 minutes to go less than 3 miles! I saw a pulloff with a few sites there and didn’t even bother to go the extra mile to check out the ones that were listed on FreeCampsites.net. It was right on the East Fork River but there were a bunch of bushes so I couldn’t actually see it, so I didn’t even unhook, just stayed overnight and went on in the morning. It took 30 minutes again to get back to the paved road.  This is a scene of one of the ranches off that road.

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Along the way I was stopped for 25 minutes for construction, then as the long line of cars got moving again, I saw a moose swimming across a lake! There was no possible way to pull over and get a photo so I hope you don’t think I’m making this up, LOL!

I decided I needed a little hand-held DVD player so I stopped at Walmart in Pagosa Springs and Walmart in Durango, and they didn’t have the cheap $49 one I wanted. I even tried to order one on Amazon and have it delivered to General Delivery in Silverton, but for some reason they couldn’t ship it to a Gen. Delivery address. ??  So I guess I have to dig out my TV. It has a built-in DVD player but it takes up an awful lot of counter space in here, plus the cord has to run right across the doorway over to the inverter, and every time I need to go outside, I have to unplug everything. I am pretty bored with my only entertainment being books and the few games I have on Kindle, and I did bring a bunch of favorite DVDs plus a few bought at a yard sale right before leaving.

I forgot that I had to go over two mountain passes between Durango and here. It wasn’t too bad., as I had the road pretty much to myself. Here’s the view from the top of Molas Pass (10,910’)

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It was 31 degrees this morning! The “official” low for Silverton was 28 so maybe my little $3 thermometer is off a bit. I had heavy frost on the car….sure glad I put the plants (Ivy and baby Rosemary) in the car last night. The elevation here is around 9200’ so we could actually get snow at any time. In fact when I was here back in the 70’s, there was a lot of snow and ice on the road going over Red Mountain Pass to Ouray, and that was in July! (Talk about white-knuckled driving; that pass is really scary even in good weather!)

I love Silverton, as long as the train from Durango isn’t in. Then it’s a madhouse of people everywhere. It reminds me of how Telluride used to be, back before it was “discovered”.

I caught a photo of the Durango-Silverton train leaving:

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View from the other side of camp

Here a couple Amazon product links that you can use to access Amazon, then you can use their Search Bar to find everything you ever wanted! Thanks!

Retro Red Kitchen Apron

Bibene Door Alarm System DIY Security Kit

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Poncha Springs and Salida, CO

I’ve moved again; this time about 60 miles south, to Shavano Wildlife Area near Poncha Springs, CO. I was shocked at how many campers were already here on a Tuesday!! I guess it’s because of Labor Day weekend coming up? The road is not very good and I had to go back farther than I wanted, but I found a really nice little shady spot between two big pine trees. I had to squiggle and squeeze in and it took lots of back-and-forthing, and twice I thought I was in a good place but when I raised the roof, it hit big tree branches. As it is, there’s a small tree branch touching the peak of the roof that squeaks and groans when it’s windy. But nearly all of the sites that I saw had no shade at all, so I’m feeling lucky……well, hardly any other campers could squeeze into this tiny spot. There are beautiful views of some of Colorado’s “Fourteeners” from here, and the cell service is decent too. (Verizon) I have almost a 360 degree view of high mountains.

 

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The elevation here is only around 7000’, so quite a bit warmer here. Near 80 during the day, and about 50 at night. I don’t even need to use the heater here…..and I’ve been using the heater nearly every night so far this summer!

See that branch that goes across the front of the door? (below) Yep…..right at top-of-the-head height for me when I go out the door.  I’m always looking at my feet when I’m climbing out of the camper, so that darn thing has caught me several times but I’m learning to duck as I go out.

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There’s an old 70’s Class C RV not too far away, but hidden in the trees. They seem to be real rednecks. Last night they were revving their truck motor over and over for about half hour.  (Is there an actual point to doing that???) Luckily they all went away the first morning and haven’t been seen since.

Salida is a classic old mining town with 4 or 5 blocks of historic district filled with neat little shops & restaurants. And it’s big enough to also have a nice new Safeway store and a small Walmart!  I haven’t seen any wildlife at all in the Wildlife Area where I’m staying but every time I go to Salida, I see 3 or 4 mule deer right in town! One of them bounced right out in front of me the other day.

This area has a lot of whitewater rafting and kayaking. Sigh…..it makes me think of my old whitewater kayaking days. I loved it so much!! 

Oh and I forgot to post these photos of the really cute little Victorian homes in Leadville!!

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Luci Solar-Powered EMRG Light

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Leadville Again

I finally moved away from Centennial, though I sure do love it there. Getting groceries is problematic though, as the nearest grocery store is 35 miles away. And since I don’t have a freezer, I had to go to town once a week for groceries.

I’m back in Leadville, CO now, though not in the same area as before.I found a new campsite that’s less than 4 miles from town, and all paved roads except for the last ⅓ mile!  And while the town is really small, they do have a Safeway (smallest one I’ve ever seen) and a Family Dollar store. This is a much busier area though, with cars, trucks, campers, ATVs and dirt bikes going by often. The road is sort of a horseshoe shape and I’m at the “base” of the shoe, so everybody goes past. I don’t mind, it’s just different from what I’m used to. It’s very quiet at night.

The elevation here is about 1000’ lower than my previous Leadville campsite too, so it’s easier to breathe. (I think the last one may have been around 11,500’)  I’m loving the weather here; every day it’s the same….69 degrees daytime, 40 at night. The stars at night here are amazing. I really need to learn more about the constellations. I got a “star finder” app for my phone but of course I seldom have a good enough signal for it to work.

It’s the weekend of the Leadville 100 race, and the town is bursting at the seams. I had to go get ice Saturday and vowed not to go out again until after the weekend is over; traffic was horrendous, and they already had roads closed off and were putting up bleachers on both sides of the race route. It’s a grueling 100 mile run in elevations from 9200′ to 12,600′! The winner was from Flagstaff, AZ and finished in just under 16 hours. !! I can’t imagine. The Turquoise Lake Recreation Area is nearby and their campgrounds are full, as well as the overflow areas. (Yet here there’s plenty of free space, less than a mile away….go figure.)

My campsite has a gigantic boulder, and I WANT IT! Guess I can’t take it back on top of the car, eh?

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Here are a few Amazon product links. You can use these to access Amazon and then use their Search bar to find everything you could possibly want! Thanks!!

Gatorade Thirst Quencher Powder

JUANWE 5 Pack 32GB USB Flash Drive

Posted in Colorado, DIY Micro House, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Clean!

We had another really pretty sunrise this morning, not that I ever want to be awake early enough to see them!

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This morning I drove 50 miles to Saratoga to visit the Hobo Hot Springs! There are two cement ponds with sand & slimy rock bottoms. One is the regular hot pool @ 106º and the other is the “Not-So-Hot” pool @ 100 º. Then there’s part of the regular pool that’s rocked off and it’s the “Lobster Pot” pool at a scalding 119º! I just use the regular pool. There are also hot pools in the Platte River, a few yards away but someone said the rocks there are really slippery.

Their changing rooms are kind of awful for anyone who’s modest, and I am the MOST modest person ever! They have hot showers but they’re just on the wall in the changing room, they don’t even have enclosures. The toilets don’t have doors either. After I soaked for about 30 minutes I was ready to go and there was a woman in the changing room with a 3 year old boy so I didn’t even change out of my swimsuit. I’d hate for the poor kid to be traumatized for life at the sight of my decrepit old body! Nobody needs THAT burned into their retinas. So I just left and put a towel down on the car seat, and drove about 5 miles to a river access area that has a vault toilet, and I changed in there.Feels so good to be clean….I came out of there all pink like a big fat newborn baby! I think it’s been about 8 months since I had a real shower.

The pools are open 24/7/365, and they’re free! The backstory is that the indians thought the hot springs could cure anything, but when so many died in the smallpox epidemic, they decided they’d lost their power and they gave the pools to the white men, with the caveat that they always be available to whoever wanted to use them. And so they are! I think that may be the ONLY promise the white men kept!

On the way home I stopped at the IGA market in Saratoga, that has the best meat! They have Prime beef, and their pork chops are the best I’ve ever eaten. And not expensive…I bought 2 pork chops, 4 pieces of cube steak, a pound of their store-made breakfast sausage, and several plums and my total was only $11.  I would have loved one of their Prime T-bone steaks but they were $8+.

I also stopped at the ranger station and they told me I could stay here in the forest indefinitely, as long as I keep moving at least 3 miles away every 16 days! So maybe I’ll stay awhile longer. I have until Thursday to decide whether to stay here or head back to Leadville, CO.

Tomorrow I go back to Laramie to get two new tires installed. (I had to order them; nobody in town had my size last week!)

Here’s my campsite. This was taken about halfway to the road.  I have a nice little row of young pines to screen the camper from the road.

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Here are a few Amazon links for you to use. If you access Amazon from one of these links, you can then use their Search bar to find what you really want. Thank you!!!

3M Extreme Sealing Tape 1.5″ x 5′

The Beatles 1962-1966 (The Red Album) MP3

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Wyoming | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Runaway!

We had the MOST traumatic experience the other day! The sky got dark and it started to thunder. Roxie was in her little exercise pen outside and she’s terrified of thunder, so I got her and put her in the camper while I went to close the car windows. Just as I opened the camper door again, there was another big thunder and she shot out the door like a rocket and started running up the track to the road! I’ve seen her do this before; she goes into a blind panic and pays no attention to me. I tried to run her down but she’s MUCH faster than I am (especially since I can really only trot, not run). I followed her up to the road to see which way she went, then “ran” back to get the car. I had to spend time getting it turned around and then I have to go very slow on the track because it’s really rocky. By the time I got to the road, she was out of sight but I kept going and pretty soon saw her trotting along. I drove past her a little bit and got out and said “You wanna go in the car?” She came to me then and I put her in the car and drove back. Phew! We both shook and panted for a long time. That much exertion at 10,000′ elevation is really exhausting, plus we were both terrified, if for different reasons. If she had gone off the road into the woods, I would never have found her!  That’s what I kept thinking as I was chasing her; “Well, that’s the last time I’ll ever see her”.

She has also been waking me up at night every two hours or so. OH it’s so hard to have to get up, get dressed, and take her out every two hours! (Though the stars here are amazing) I thought maybe she had a urinary tract infection except that she’s just fine during the day! She can go 5-6 hours in the daytime. So I don’t know; it’s a mystery. Last night she was almost back to normal; she woke me at 12:45 to go out but then was fine until I woke up at 6:45. Boy it’s nice to be able to sleep; hope her two-hour intervals are a thing of the past.

This was one of the sunrises I got to see, thanks to Roxie waking me at 5:15.

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This is a better photo of my long-range view from the campsite.  Some days are clearer than others.DSCN7873

Boy I’m just noticing that my poor arthritic fingers are pain-free! I attribute it to being a year in this nice dry climate. I even have stopped taking Cat’s Claw, which really did help a lot. I’ll put a link below for what I was taking; if you have arthritis, it might be worth a try.

Sometimes I just leave the camper door open since there aren’t many bugs here, and almost every time I do, I get a tiny visitor….a Roufous Hummingbird comes buzzing in, makes a few laps around the inside of the camper, then buzzes back out! I’ve never seen a  brown hummingbird before. Here’s a picture (from the internet)

Rufous

We got a good rain the other day and I have a new leak. Water was dripping out from the light fixture in the roof! Yikes, that doesn’t seem safe, though I think shocks from 12V are not nearly as bad as shocks from 110V. Still….I just can’t figure out where the leaks are coming from.

There are some really nice rocks around here; lots of quartz. I’m tempted to start collecting again, though the ones I REALLY like are the huge ones.

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Source Naturals Cats Claw Bark 1000 mg

Colgin Liquid Smoke

5-pack 32 GB Thumb Drives

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Snowy Range, WY (still)

I’m still camped near Centennial, WY. I had to move at least 3 miles away so I can stay an additional 16 days. I found a nice spot up one of the side roads, and it’s higher in elevation (9780′!) so it’s cooler. It’s right on the edge of an escarpment and I can see forever! Well…..I can see teeny tiny cars on I-80, and that’s around 30 miles away! So far there’s been a nice breeze that keeps everything nice and cool. I really like it here! 

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Long-range views over the escarpment

A few days ago I drove all over the forest looking for a new campsite. I thought I found a good one with a nice tree for afternoon shade (rare around here, even though it’s a forest). I backed in close to the tree but when I got out of the car, I was instantly covered in mosquitoes. So much for that good campsite; I hate mosquitoes.  Hardly any at this new site I found! 

Last week I drove up the Snowy Range Scenic Byway for the first time this year. It’s such a beautiful drive…27 miles from start to finish. It goes over a 12,500’ mountain pass and through forests, lakes, and meadows full of wildflowers. Still plenty of snow in the heights! 

I saw a mama and baby moose!! The baby was having a ball tearing around the meadow while mama just stood and watched. I got a couple photos that are kind of blurry, since they were so far away, I had to use both optical and digital zoom settings. I try not to post bad photos but hey, like I’ve said before, they’re MOOSE and blurry photos are OK!  Same goes for bear photos, though I’m glad I haven’t seen any here. I know they are around, because all of the trash containers are have bear-proof tops.

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There are wildflowers everywhere here! I guess it’s the best time for them. So pretty…all different colors, like someone took a handful of mixed seeds and cast them out.

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I need identification on these last two flower photos please!!DSCN7870DSCN7841

We’ve been getting afternoon thundershowers almost every day. Sometimes it’s just a few drops but there have been several hailstorms, which really make me nervous for my 14 year old plastic skylights, but so far, so good; no new leaks. The ones I hate are the “100 drop rains”….it rains just long enough for me to get everything closed up and put away, then stops.

I’ve been studying on which direction to head towards home in September. I was thinking of going over into Utah and down through Moab, but I think instead I’ll save my gas money and just go back pretty much the way I came, but dip down into Northern New Mexico. There are some high elevation campsites that sound interesting, and then I can hop onto I-40 and be home in a jiffy, once the hot weather breaks. I’m hoping for sooner rather than later…..I’m already tired of having to move around all the time and I’m itching to get back to work on my tiny house. Well really I don’t want to do the work, I just want it to magically build itself so I can move in. Hah. It’ll be mid-September at the earliest though. I have to find nice cool places to camp for another two months! 

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Outdoor Birdbath

 

 

 

 

 

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Snowy Range, WY

I got kicked out of the Arapaho National Forest! The sign says you can stay for 14 days but the ranger came along (on my 13th day) and said the stay limit was 7 days. He also said they’d been “keeping an eye on me” and he talked about “squatting” and “residing”. He woke me up from a sound sleep and it wasn’t until after he left that I realized he thought I was homeless, and living in the forest. Wow, that’s never happened to me before! I’m pretty sure it’s because the car and camper look so bad, with that nasty oil on them. But still, I’m mad that homeless people don’t have the same rights as anyone else. Why do they make it even harder for them?  After he left I thought of a whole lot of things I SHOULD have said.

I also think it’s kinda crazy that they thought I was homeless. How many homeless people drive Toyota Highlanders and have solar panels?? Sigh. Well, it’s over and done with but I just might send some letters out to the Arapaho National Forest in protest of my shabby treatment.

By the way, I finally found a carwash and used the “engine cleaner” setting to wash the car. It did not even make a dent in that oil. I also tried baking soda, which worked on the lightly oiled places but not the heavy oil. WD-40 is working kinda-sorta on the heavy areas; it softens it and I can then scrape a lot of it off with a silicone scraper. It’s going to be a very long, labor-intensive process! 

On the way here a guy in a Jeep waved me over and told me that my camper door was open! The roof latch had come right off, probably on one of the bumps in the road, and the door had been swinging in the breeze. He said something had come out; he thought it looked like a bag of bagels (?) and I did have some hamburger buns and bread in a grocery bag, so I thought that’s what it was. But when I got here and set up the camper, I checked and that bag is still here, and the bag with potato chips is still here. I have NO idea what flew out but hopefully it wasn’t very important. The door was sprung and overlapped the door casing by about ¼” at the bottom. It wouldn’t close unless I gave it a good kick! And from the inside, I had to slam it really hard 3 or 4 times. I have a couple neighbors here and I didn’t think they’d appreciate hearing my door slam so much, so I got out my hammer and whacked the heck out of it, and now it’s fine. I can’t figure out why I didn’t see that in my side mirror….do I not ever check that right hand mirror?? Maybe not, if I’m on a two lane highway.

I’ve left Colorado and moved on to Wyoming, the beautiful Snowy Range area of Medicine Bow National Forest, west of Laramie. I was a little worried about finding a campsite in the middle of July 4 week, but I was able to get the same site I had last year. I have some  shade both morning and afternoon. I think the elevation is close to 10,000’ so it’s a bit cooler here. There are more mosquitoes here than I’d like. The other evening there were at least 30 of them bumbling against the window screen (on the outside). I’m sure they were saying “We zzzzee you! Let uzzz in; we are zzzzztarving!” and at least a dozen coming at me on the inside. I’ve got every crack that I know of stuffed with foam, so I guess they are getting in every time I open the door. Some days I only see a few mosquitoes, and some days they’re everywhere. Hate them!

On my second day here I went to town and when I came back, the neighbor across the way waved and yelled “I see you’re back again”!  What?? I don’t know this guy! So I walked over and it turns out, when I was here last August, he was in the big campsite across the road. I never talked to him then, but he remembered my camper.

Since there’s no cell signal at all here (or even in town!) I use the library’s wifi hotspot. When I was there yesterday, they were having a book sale and I overheard someone mention where to get good ice cream in town. So I went over there and it WAS good! They have a flavor called “Snowy Range Crunch” that’s peanut butter ice cream with fudge swirl and Heath toffee chips…very good!  And at the book sale I bought up a bunch of old Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books for $.50 each. It’s very weird reading a real book….I keep swiping at the book, expecting the page to turn like they do on my Kindle.

The neighbors offered to take me for a ride in their ATV to check out some other campsites near here! I can stay here 16 days, then have to move at least 3 miles away. We found some really nice ones, and one of them even had 2 bars of Verizon service! So I think I will move up there when my 16 days are up here. Maybe with my wifi booster I can even get a wifi signal!  We saw a couple pretty mule deer on the ride.

Sorry no photos this time; the library’s hotspot is soooo bad, I’m lucky to be able to send this or emails. It would take all day to download a photo! Next time, I promise.

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Rodeo!

I was going to try to drive through Rocky Mt. National Park today, but I wanted to leave at about 6 a.m. to avoid all the traffic jams. But Roxie woke me up to go out at 4:15 this morning and that was way too early. She didn’t wake me again until nearly 7:00 and that was too late. She’s a really crappy alarm clock. I’ll try again on Monday; I know for sure that I don’t want to go there on the weekend.

I picked up a free daily newspaper and I guess things are not too exciting here. This is from the police blotter: “It was reported at 4:59 p.m. that a domesticated rabbit was at large on the 400 block of Fifth St. in Granby.  The rabbit was located and taken into custody.”

I decided to bite the bullet and spend the money to have a buffet breakfast on Saturday or Sunday….a restaurant in town called Fat Cat has a fantastic buffet with PIE! (You know how I love pie) And all kinds of other good desserts too. I went today and asked how much it was though…$14.95! So sad, I can’t spend that on a breakfast, no matter how good. Their regular breakfast menu items started at $10.95. Darn!  I guess I am really out of touch with reality as far as restaurant prices go.

Later in the week:

I went to the rodeo in Granby! How fun!! I only went to the Junior Rodeo because it started at 3:00 and I wouldn’t have to drive home after dark. I’m not really sure I could find my campsite in the dark!  They had barrel racing, pole weaving, and then some goat events…the little kids 3-5 years old had to run to a tethered goat, snatch a ribbon off it’s tail and run back. The little bit older kids had to tie a ribbon on the goat’s tail (and goats wag their tails a lot!) and the big kids had to ride their horses up, jump off, throw the goat on it’s side and tie it’s legs together.  All pretty fun for everyone but the poor goats! They switched the goats out after every 5 or 6 kids.

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Then the calf roping, and I had to leave after that because it was getting late and Roxie was home all alone. I’d been there for more than 3 hours; there were 300 entries in the Jr. Rodeo!! The littlest kid couldn’t get her horse to move at more than a walk because her little legs stuck straight out to the sides, and when she tried to kick the horse, she only kicked the saddle!

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Finally got to drive through Rocky Mountain National Park on Monday morning! I left at 6 a.m. and got back at about 10:00 (90 miles rd. trip) It was beautiful but I didn’t see a single animal!! Last time I was there (in the 70’s) there were bear and moose all over the roads! I was very disappointed. As I was coming back into Grand Lake, two pretty little mule deer crossed the road in front of me, LOL.

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I’m thinking about leaving here because it’s been hot…well into the 80’s, and I have no shade. It’s pretty miserable, but I can’t find any nice cool places nearby; it seems to be hotter than normal all over. I’m at 8880′ elevation, and it SHOULD be nice and cool!

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Grand Lake, CO

I left Leadville last Monday. To back up for a minute, when I left home, there was a road detour less than 25 miles from home. They were working on the detour road as well, and they had sprayed water on the road. It splashed mud up onto the front of the camper, and that mud hardened like cement! I was so happy when we had the rain on Sunday that softened it. I went out and got it all nice and clean again on Sunday afternoon.

They were also working on the dirt road as I was leaving the Leadville campsite, and I had to run though water again!! Just one lousy day after I’d gotten it all clean. Well I found out later, they’d sprayed the road with oil, not water! Oh my, what a mess. The whole car and camper are covered with oil, which has turned to mud/oil after driving on the dusty dirt roads. I haven’t seen a carwash yet, either.

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I moved to a free campsite at Pioneer Park right in the town of Hot Sulphur Springs. Finally I had a site with a good wifi signal! I thought I might stay there several days to get my fill of the internet but I wasn’t particularly impressed with the campsite. It was across the campground road from the Colorado River but most of the sites were very narrow and close together, like neighbors less than 10’ away! You know that’s just not my kinda place. But….a good wifi signal!!!  Also I was hoping to get a good night’s sleep at that lower elevation. I didn’t sleep worth a darn at the 11000’ campsite; I’d walk up feeling breathless and not be able to go back to sleep.

My campsite was the closest one to the railroad…..only about 50’ from the tracks, and about 100’ from a crossing that did not have a lighted signal when a train was coming. At 3:30 in the morning, a train came through, blaring the horn (whistle?) for about 15 seconds straight. I was just about to get back to sleep when another train came through at 4:20. I wasn’t able to get back to sleep after that.

This VW Westfalia was next door….I wonder how much that roof weighed, with all that stuff on it?! They had a West Highland White terrier…the guy said they HAD to have a Westy, to go with the car!

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So I left there and headed to Grand Lake, which is on the “back side” of Rocky Mountain National Park, near the West Gate. I found the free national forest dispersed area and had made up my mind to stop at the first open campsite because I thought maybe I could get a wifi signal, but the first 4 or 5 were already taken. I was starting to worry but found one a little ways up that’s decent. It doesn’t have any shade but the highs are supposed to be between 68-72 every day so it should be okay.  I could legally stay here for 28 days if I wanted! I don’t know yet if I’ll want to stay or move on. It depends on temperatures, bug populations, “hitch-itch”, etc.

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Check out this awesome campfire ring I’ve got! Of course I don’t ever have campfires, but if anything tempted me, this one sure would.

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This is a very popular ATV area and the staging area is only about 100’ away through the woods, so there’s quite a bit of traffic and noise during the day but it dies down at night.  I kind of like watching all the ATV’s go by. It’s about 8 miles from town, and only 1 mile from a paved road.

I went into Grand Lake….really cute little town, very upscale, with lots of nice mini-mansions all around the lake.

Here are some of the pretty wildflowers near my campsite. I don’t know what they all are, do you?

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Well I’m pretty horrified. This morning I got a container of really hot water, lots of Dawn dishwashing detergent and a scrubbie/sponge and tried to clean the nasty oil off the front of the camper. It didn’t work!!! I was able to get it off the plastic and aluminum parts but on the painted aluminum, it just smeared it around! So I’m guessing a carwash wouldn’t help either. What to do???

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Keen Uneek Women’s Rock Sandal

 

 

 

 

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Leadville, CO

I really liked the South Fork campsite but the flies got to me. Suddenly there were hundreds of them! When I’d try to sit outside, I’d have 20 or so on me, which seemed really creepy even though they weren’t biting.  So I left and wandered up to Granite, which had campsites that sounded good but weren’t. I kept going to Leadville and found some wonderful campsites perched above Halfmoon Creek, in the lodgepole pine forest. It’s about 8 miles to town and of course, no cell signal. I see I’m going to have to wean myself away from the internet on this trip!

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My campsite is about halfway up the green wooded portion (below the snowcapped peaks)

 

Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the U.S. at 10,152’, and it’s surrounded by “Fourteeners” (mountains more than 14,000’ high) It’s a really cool little silver, lead and gold rush town with about 4 or 5 blocks of old historic buildings turned into shops & eateries. Leadville  hosted a number of old west scalawags such as Doc Holliday, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, Bat Masterson, Soapy Smith (of Skagway, Alaska fame), and Oscar Wilde. There are a lot of really cute small Victorian homes to drive by and drool over.

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Leadville

I am doing pretty well with the high altitude but I do wake up with slight headaches. They sell canned oxygen in the grocery store here, and there’s also an Oxygen Bar in town.

I got all excited about a place called High Mountain Pies but it turned out to be a pizza place, not a pie place. I went into a bakery and was disappointed that they had no bread for sale. The lady told me it’s really difficult to make good bread or cakes at this elevation….I hadn’t thought about that.  I got a chocolate eclair that was out of this world good though.

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View from my campsite

 

I had a nice neighbor lady a couple hundred feet away who arrived shortly after I did. She’s got a goofy gallumping 7 month old puppy that appears to be mostly Rhodesian Ridgeback. He and Roxie really liked each other though Roxie doesn’t play nearly as long as he wants. His energy knows no bounds. I am surprised by the number of people camping in tents here, with nighttime temps around 35 degrees!. I couldn’t do it without heat, even in the camper, let alone a flimsy tent! The daytime temps are perfect; 70-75 but rain is on the way…looks like it could be 5 days of it! But I don’t see anywhere else that would be any different, so I guess I’ll stay. I guess I’ll think about trying to cover my front skylight somehow, so it doesn’t leak. I have looked a zillion times and I can’t see anywhere the rain could get in, but water collects at the bottom lip and runs down the inside roof.

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Old abandoned shack on the road to camp

I can’t believe I’ve been gone less than two weeks. It feels like forever, and I still think longingly for my sweet little tiny house. I want so badly to get it done! But I know I can’t work in the kind of summer heat we have. It was supposed to be livable by the time the summer rolled around. Sigh.

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Metal Sun Moon Wall Decor

6′ Micro USB Cables

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Colorado!

I finally left home on May 31st,  two whole days later than I wanted to.  It took longer than I thought to move everything from home into the storage unit, and to move the contents of the small storage unit into the new bigger one. My back was really hurting plus it was very hot, so I wasn’t able to do as much as I thought I could. Pretty miserable time but I finally kicked free!

The first day I drove as far as Durango, CO and stayed at a place called Durfield BLM between Durango and Bayfield. The GPS coordinates took me to a residential subdivision and as I was turning around, a man came up and told me how to find the place. He said that happens a lot. So I found the correct turnoff and then there were several ways to go. I chose the wrong way and ended up at a locked gate with no place to turn around! I had to back the rig up for more than ½ mile, downhill and around curves, with a big dropoff on one side!!  That got my heart going good. I finally found the right road and got a nice campsite in the pines.

The next day I went on, thinking I’d head to Granite or Leadville, where I had several choices of where to camp. After I went over Wolf Creek Pass, I kept seeing signs that said “National Forest Access Road”. My curiosity got the better of me and I turned onto one of them and found some really nice  campsites on a lively little stream. I had no cell service so I drove on out to town to let my “keeper” Patricia know where I was going to be, and that she might not be hearing from me every morning. Normally, I text her every morning to say “I’m still alive”.

So I have this lovely little spot in the pines, on the edge of a stream. There’s a very large site right across the road from me and two older ladies pulled in there just seconds after I got this site! Phew, I’ll bet they would have taken this one if they’d seen it first. It is about ten miles to the little town of South Fork. The elevation here is around 8200’ and the temps have been in the 70’s. Last night it went down to 32 degrees but I’ll take that along with the cooler daytime temps.

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The only drawbacks to this place are that it’s a very dusty dirt road and there’s a considerable amount of traffic from cars & trucks plus ATV’s, and there are mosquitoes at dusk and dawn.. So far the dust is blowing away from me but that could change.  I was only going to stay the weekend here but now I think I might stay longer. If I continued on to Granite or Leadville, the temperatures will be considerably colder at night. I usually have a pretty good idea of where I’m aiming for, but South Fork was not even on my radar! I’m glad I found it.

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The first day I went into South Fork to get a few groceries and on a crazy whim, I decided to have lunch at the South Fork Malt Shoppe, a cute little take-out diner that advertised hamburgers, shakes and malts. They were way more expensive than I thought they’d be, so I thought and thought a long time before I ordered, but in the end I just went for it. Gulp! I paid $13.50 for a hamburger, fries and malt! And that is why I never eat out. It was a ⅓ lb. Angus burger (that’s the cheapest thing on the menu) with seasoned skinny fries, and it was delicious but I couldn’t eat it all. Roxie got the rest of the hamburger with her dinner. The malt was really good too, so at least I got GOOD food for the money.  

I came back and took a two-hour nap. This is the life!!

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Getting Ready

Now I’ve become an auto mechanic! The fan for my air conditioner started making really terrible noises, then it quit completely. I went to Google and found out what was probably wrong, and then went to You Tube to see how to fix it. It said it was an easy fix. I went and got the new blower motor….$95, gulp! (Could have gotten it for $40 on ebay if I’d had the time to wait for it) Changing the part involved getting on my back in the passenger footwell and I really didn’t think I could do that. I couldn’t even figure out HOW to get on my back in there! I asked a few friends if they knew anyone who’d change it for me and no one did. So it came down to either spending $75-80 minimum service fee at a shop for a ten-minute job, or doing it myself.

So I turned a 5 gallon bucket over and set it right next to the open car door, with a pillow on top. I sat down facing away from the car and then sort of slumped down into the footwell. It was hard work getting those 3 screws out, as I could only work with my left hand; I couldn’t fit my right hand in there. I tried and tried and could not get the wiring harness unhooked. My fingers just don’t have any strength in them any more. After awhile I had the brilliant idea that maybe there wasn’t anything really wrong with the blower motor, maybe the mouse’s leg sticking out was the only reason the fan wouldn’t turn. So I turned the fan and and the motor jumped all over the place. Yay! I put the motor back in place and got those 3 screws back in, then tried it again. Oh. It only worked on high speed, and it still made a really terrible noise.

I removed that motor AGAIN and still couldn’t get the wiring harness apart, so I gave up and left it hanging there. I went to the laundromat and there were some young guys sitting on the porch waiting for the shower, so I asked if one of them could help me. What a nice kid! He not only got the wiring harness apart, but he went ahead and installed the new motor too! Unfortunately, it still only works on high speed. But hey, it’s quiet!

I came home and went again to Google, which said that the problem is probably the resistor. It’ an EASY JOB, it said!  Sure, sure. That’s what they said about the blower motor! The part costs $50 on ebay or $100 at the auto parts place so I can’t fix it right now or else I won’t have the money to buy gas to get to Colorado. That’s OK, I don’t mind just using high speed.  I’m happy that I was mostly able to do it, and happy at how much money I saved.

I took three small trailer loads of lumber & stuff over to the new storage unit and emptied out a lot of the stuff from my car. Now I have to go move the stuff from the small storage unit over to the big one. I hope it all fits! I have a few other chores to do but if I can get that done in one session, I’ll be free to leave on Wednesday. I wanted to leave Tuesday but I just got worn out with all the stuff I had to do around here, and I mostly only work from 5:30 a.m. until 9:00, before it gets too hot, or that last hour before dark. I will be so glad when I can leave all this work behind and become a lady of leisure again!! I feel like I’ve earned it.

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Jobar Outdoor Solar LED Light

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Posted in Arizona, Uncategorized | 2 Comments