Sunday, July 28, 2013

Water Dog.......

My granddaughter Hailey and I are happily planted at the campground.  I truely had a wise moment, when I choose a campground close to home beside a lake.  Yesterday, she spent 6 hours upside down in the water.

Oh, how I remember doing all the same things when I was a kid at the same age. 

It all ends with BLUBBBB!

And then there was the log........

 Logs always draw a crowd.

There is a truth about riding a log that I learned long ago......

Try, Try,Try Again

The Log Aways Wins

After setting up the camp the afternoon before, I sat happily in the shade, resting.

Night time seems to be my coming alive time and I cooled down in the lake. It made the hot, hot hot night so much better.

No cell service, No internet, No TV, just sun, water, and fun.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Grand Kiddo Trip

I have been back to Spokane, the place I have always called home for the last month.  Summer is a great time to spend some family time and that is exactly what I've been doing.  However, the call of the wild is beckoning me so I'm taking family with me.

The  Lolita (the Trailer) and Little Hoss (the truck) are parked outside at Aunties house as I prepare for a 10 day trip with my granddaughter.  After 9 straight days of 90 + temperatures we are headed for water for a little cooling off.  I have reservations for the first five days and then it's off to unknown places for the next five days.

We will be busy packing the grub and rearranging for a plus one, which means some stuff needs to be left behind to make room for all the stuff that a teenager brings along.  I'm also bringing along some craft supplies so we can get in touch with our inner creative self's.  I am always intrigued by the possibilities that Mod Podge, empty bottles and an assortment of other supplies will provide to make opportunities to make something out of nothing. 

Who knows what we will come up with.

And the fun begins!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

As  you know, I travel full time in my vintage trailer (Lolita) and boondock frequently away from electric hook ups. Three nights ago, I was in Lolita and had the windows open near the front of the trailer sleeping during a hot summer night...

I woke up and I could hear a hissing sound so I went out to figure out what was the problem. I could hear that is was coming from the propane tank area.  I went back in the trailer and got my hand held propane gas detector. 



Portable Gas Detector      

Went back out in my jammies and tested all around the tanks....I got readings that indicated that there was propane gas present.  (See how on the picture it shows holding it near connections) I turned off tanks and went back into the trailer and lit the stove and let it burn out the gas that was remaining in the lines.. 

Some lessons I have learned that will keep me safer in the future.

  1. Turn off tank valves when not using. 
  2. Prior check to make sure the propane is turned off.
  3. With the tank valves turned off, before departure, turn on burner burn off gas present in the lines. 
  4. Periodically use the propane detector to check around the fitting (especially after travel) to check on the status of lines

I  will never stay in a trailer with propane tanks with out a detector present.  

Nor will I be using the propane again in Lolita until new hoses and regulator are installed and all lines checked. 

Are there other items that should be added to my propane safety list?

The life you save may be your own. 


Last night was a long, long night. To start with it was a very hot night,  minus thunder and lightening  of before but still pretty hot without air conditioning. Fans help make it bearable but still a restless night.

I love watching trains.

I always wonder where they have been and the stories they could tell.  Maybe, some of my love for trains comes from my itchy feet and urges to travel.

I could sit and watch the trains go by for hours.  I am in a perfect spot to sit in my chair in the evening and watch them go by.

The trains were busy last night with whistles blowing at least every hour.
So why is it that whistles only seem to blow at night?

Where I am staying there is a spur line plus another regular train line.

The spur line is like a passing lane where trains can leave cars parked to be picked up by other trains or trains can pass slower trains or ones going in the opposite direction. 

In addition to train whistles, the spur line provides additional sounds of banging as they connect the cars together. I only slept between trains last night, until another one whistled on by.

Last night seemed especially busy and noisy.

We sit above a large beautiful meadow where the trains run through.

Great cell reception....4G service

Last night in addition to the trains, coyotes howled and yipped  down in the meadow.  I've known they were here, but they hadn't let me hear their call of the wild.    As far as I know they weren't up by the trailer....

Kitties didn't seem bothered by their presence.

After I settled down from hearing the coyotes, I heard some hissing that was difficult to place the sound.  I got up and walked around the inside of the trailer.... Seemed to be coming from the front of the trailer near my bed.  I went out side and checked out the outside and located the hissing.  The hissing was from the propane tanks or hoses.  I carry a hand help propane detector so I was able to locate the area it was coming from.

Yep, turned those tanks right off.
Something else to add to the TO DO LIST.

The rest of the night I spent tossing and turning, dreaming of a NEW trailer. 

I  am feeling so conflicted about the benefits of new versus vintage trailers.  Of course there is no guarantee that a new trailer is free from maintenance.  Sticks or bricks or wheels to go, they all needs our attention and care. 

Today I found this link to a little trailer eye candy (other wise known as trailer porn)  for those of you who love to day dream of vintage trailers.

Dream on........ 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mish Mash Day

Lots of the little stuff today......

Awoke to a jarring event.  A big kathunk under the bed!
My first thought always is......

"Dammit Emmit what have you done now."  (You know we all have to have someone to blame the unknowns events on!)  Well Emmit was in the clear.... 
Sorry Emmit!!!  :)

This is what I found.

Looks like a little RV parts shopping is in order today.  I had just bought this wheel for the trailer in April.  The metal frame is in perfect condition but the tire broke off completely.  They sure don't make things like they used to.  Shopping today... repairs another day.

It's hot, hot, hot. Last  night it finally dipped below 80 degrees at midnight and returned to 80 degrees at 9:00 AM.  I have fans which make it comfortable but the humidity is higher so it feels worse.  After tonight's thunderstorm the humidity should drop again and then it should be better.
Shopping should be a late afternoon event.... ah, cool air conditioned stores!

Cleaned up in Lolita.  I love it.  Swish, Swish, Dishes, Sweep Sweep and I'm done.
Can you imagine all the hours of life that we have spent cleaning big houses.  There is so much time for living with a tiny home.
What was I thinking.  This is the life!

I did tackle the pantry cupboard.  I must do something with that cupboard.  In order to get out one little thing, I must move EVERY THING!
So I need more soda too.I need more shelves.... more baskets to making it more manageable.  Look out HOME DEPOT here I come.   (By the way, I didn't find the baking soda, so I need more soda too.)

Time to gas up Little Hoss and while I was there I pulled my little truck through a car wash.... Yep, the truck is really green.  I had begun to wonder.

This afternoon is a big cooking event.  I am helping Auntie prepare a dinner for local area homeless families.  I'm making one of my favorites Chicken Enchiladas.   Auntie is making Spanish Rice and another gal is making a Salad and bringing Ice Cream bars.  In this area, a group of Churches work together to provide housing (in the basement of neighborhood churches, meals and support help.  Last night we had four families and everyone seemed to enjoy the food.

It takes so little, an illness, a lost job, a car breaking down, for a family who is secure and happy in a home one day, to become homeless and dependent on the kindness of strangers.

I understand that there are more churches throughout the surrounding area who repeat this helping hand over and over.  What a blessing they are to these peoples lives.  It certainly was a blessing in mine that I was allowed to share a meal with these families on this hot summer afternoon.

That's it... a bunch of little events.... making up a great day! 


Monday, July 15, 2013

Kitties Adjusting on the Road

Lets be real, this is a cat house.....they just let me live here!

I travel in a 16 foot vintage trailer with 3 adult cats.  They did not grow up traveling and are learning to adjust to a new life style as am I.  I am often asked how I helped them adjust to life on the road.
I began thinking about helping the kitties transition to life on the road long before the departure date.

Happy Cats

To help create an environment they could be happy in, I spent time observing each kitty and how they spent their day.  Here is some observations about my kitties.

Two of my kitties (Emmit and Socks) spent most of their time indoors but were happy to have perches that allowed them to watch all of the comings and goings outside.The  third cat (Spook) seemed to go outside for an extended time at least once during the day and then spent the rest of the day cat napping in several of her favorite spots.  

So to begin with,  I began to think about how to duplicate there routine in a much smaller space, our home on wheels, Lolita the vintage trailer.  

Here are some of the things that have helped them adjust to life on the road

Provide a way to have outside time to meet the needs of the kittiesIt seemed important to my kitties to have outside time that they can access themselves at any time.  I accomplished this by adding outside space in the form of a kennel attached to the outside of the trailer with bungee cords.  A cat door mounted into a outside cargo hatch allows them to enter the trailer or go out at any time I have the door unlocked.

A 1/4 inch board, cut to fit around the opening to enclose around a kennel  door next to the trailer prevents any unscheduled departures.  My kitties spend a lot of time outside napping and observing their surroundings.  I love having the cat box OUTSIDE.

close up showing board mounted next to cat door

I set up my outdoor area near the kitties and they seem happy to be apart of the camp routine.

I have let my kitties out to snoop around camp occasionally (not counting escapes) when during the day, after checking out our environment I have determined it to be safe.  They always return to the security of the trailer.  The kennel attachment allows them outside time even when it is not safe to be out loose or in campgrounds with dogs and other frightening humans (you know, the 3 feet tall kiddo humans).

Abo  tents can provide some kitties an outside place area to play.  A cat bed, blanket, kitty box and food and water gives them some outside time

Unlike the  security of the kennel, my cats spend a lot of time looking for an escape route in the tent.  I only use the tent when I am outside cooking or am outside for an extended time.  Other people use  the tents for a potty break for the kitties and a time out of their kennels at a rest stop during a long day of travel.  I'm hoping this will improve as they spend more time in the tent.

As I began this process I thought halters attached to a zip line would be a wonderful alternative.  Halters have seemed to work for some cats.  NOT FOR MINE!  I have tried 4 different halters with the same result..  I have raised Houdini kitties capable and determined to escape halters.  At this present time I have abandoned all efforts to use halters.  I certainly am glad I tried this at home before departure to ensure that the kitties had plenty of time to get over being mad and come home before departure date. This would have been much more difficult had I tried this on the road.

Provide plenty of hiding spots or kitty bedsAny one who loves kitties knows that they love little hiding spots to hide out for some alone time.  I also have a kitty bed under the couch just inside the kitty door for another space for alone time.  Another favorite hiding spot is under my bed where a favorite blanket serves as another secret spot.
I have given up a number of spots that they seem to love and instead provided a favorite blanket of the kitties to make it homier and more familiar to them.  I cubby at the head of my bed that I thought would be a nice spot for Jammies has been taken over by Emmit for napping.  I have noticed when I am begin to ready the trailer to move to another spot kitties will (I have since moved my jammies to another spot)  Another popular spot in the trailer is the drawers that compromise the 'office'.  A blanket on top make a perfect perch for bird watching out the window.

Emmit keeping an I on me

Cat Boxes & the Poo Bucket - Everyone has a preference for what works best for them...  For me, I prefer a cat box sifter (It comes with 2 cat boxes and a sifter tray. (Hometec Lift N Sift Cat LitterTray, available on Amazon) 

I pour the used scoopable litter into the second tray fitted with the sifter tray on top.  Then pick up the sifter tray and  pour the used contents into a grocery bag and tie the ends.  At a campground the bags go in the dumpster.

Since I often am often away from traditional campgrounds I store the bags in a 5 gallon bucket with screw on lid until I can get to a dumpster.  They screw on lids snap a ring onto the bucket and the interior lid screws on and off easily for weak or arthritic hands.   These are available at big box home improvement stores or of course my favorite....,

Cat Scratcher toys - Tiny living spaces require tiny solutions.  One toy of necessity that works for us is the Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy available a pet stores or you guessed  It provides a place to scratch.... a ball to chase and a little cat nip makes it highly desirable for the feline set. 

Cat Food -  one of my cats is allergic to grains found in common cat foods.  She requires a grain free cat food (otherwise my black cat Spook would be hairless!  Not a pretty sight!)  This means finding a pet store on the road or mail order.  In the summer I must be careful to not have too much on hand due to spoilage in the heat.  

Travel in the truck  - All three cats currently travel in the truck in the back seat in cat carriers. While the other two cats nap the day away, dear Emmit continues to meow constantly while traveling..... All threats have been to no avail...  
Turn up the radio and travel on.   To get a clear picture of an exciting travel day with Emmit  read this blog entry.

  Stay tuned.... there are many more lessons to be learned!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Dirt in the Forest

Nothing brings me  more peace than a quiet day in the forest.... 

Water just makes it even better.

A Drive along the river with perfect weather...     who could want anything more.

On the morning of October 16, 1991, gale force winds gusting to 62 m.p.h. uprooted trees which downed power lines in the Spokane area. The energized wires ignited dry grass and brush. The first alarm was received at 8:45 a.m. near Spokane International Airport and within three hours, every firefighting resource in Spokane County was committed to battle blazes throughout the county. 

Flames were within a mile of where I lived and visible as they came over the top of a ridge above my house.  Two lives and many homes were lost that day and many acres of beautiful forest were also lost during those days.

 Firefighters had to make decisions on which structures to save and which to leave to the flames.

 The fire did the same.

This area along the river shows how the fire killed some trees, jumping over and leaving others standing.

 After 20 years new growth has filled in the bare areas reviving the area. 


  Wildflowers abound.

While continuing my travels along the river and I noticed increasing dust and traffic.  

Usually I go in the opposite direction of large gatherings of people, but curiosity snagged my attention and I was on a new mission...

  I found myself at an event called the Dirty Dash 
What you may ask..... is a Dirty Dash? 

This is what the web site about the Dirty Dash had to say about the fun run.

"Have you ever said to yourself, “Marathons are too easy, and Triathlons are for sissies?”
We haven’t either…those races are really hard. Think about it…the first person to run a marathon actually died.  HE DIED!...and he probably didn’t even have fun along the way!

Well, welcome to a new kind of race: THE DIRTY DASH.  This race that puts all other races to shame.  The Dirty Dash is a mud run obstacle course where a military boot camp meets your inner five-year-old’s fantasy and subsequently converts boy to man and then man to swine.

You’ll need endurance to trudge up mountains of sludge, courage to overcome uncompromising obstacles, a complete lack of shame to wallow in pits of mud and a smile to show through at the end!
So let this mud run obstacle course become your new guilty pleasure. Go solo or with some of your dirtiest, filthiest, & uncouth friends.  Either way, you’ll be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I am a Dirty Dasher!”… and then proceed to clean yourself off."

Now these folks are out to have fun!!

What an opportunity to people watch!

Many of the participants had costumes, others had tee shirts proclaiming there team name.

Some of my favorites were.... A Darn Dirty Shame
                                                      Talk Dirty
                                                            50 Shades of Dirt
                                                                    Dirty Diva's



 Look at them go......

Water keeps the fun going

True  Luv???

 Mud, Mud, Mud at the finish line


Group showers at the finish line help to hose off dirt in every clevis.  Ah.....cleaner at last!

If I could run the obstacle course, I certainly would have loved to do this.

What would your team name be??

When we are open to the universe, it is amazing what comes our way.

 What a fun, happy day!

Now back to good clean fun.