Saturday, August 29, 2015

More Random Traveling Thoughts

I stopped for gas in Forks, WA. I suppose i was expecting to see more Twilight themed stuff, but I only saw a couple of things, "Twilight firewood" being my favorite because it was just firewood. 

Just outside of Forks I was driving along minding my own business when all of the sudden the air blowing in the windows got really cold and as I came around a corner there was pea soup fog up ahead.  I immediately thought of Harry Potter and dementors. A few minutes later I got my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean from atop a cliff.  If the fog hadn't been so dense, I probably would have been able to see it right about where the fog started. 

Things that make me smile every time: Elk crossing signs, tunnels made of trees, beautiful cliffside views of the ocean, funny conversations being loudly had by camping neighbor kids, Nellie snoring, views of the ocean, more tree branch tunnels, pink flowers blooming straight out of the ground (they're called Pink Ladies), more views of the ocean, tractor crossing signs, Italian mountain driving, Nellie farts and lighthouses. 
Got to go inside, but not climb the 163 steps to the lookout. 

Verizon jetpack review: I have now encountered my first place where I don't have service, Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park just south of Crescent City, CA.  Everyplace else I have gone I've been able to get at least one bar of service.  Here, though, "no service."  Now that I've traveled down Hwy 1 a bit farther, I realized that "no service is par for the course outside towns along Hwy 1.  Glad I had service in San Francisco or I might still be driving around trying to find the freeway. :)  Pretty happy with it overall so far.  

I've seen big trees before. The cedars in Ketchikan are humongous! AND WOWWEEE! are these redwood trees big!  Overwhelming! Period!  I drove so slow on the Avenue of the Giants that I had to pull over about a million times to let people pass.  I didn't care because I wanted to drive slow.

This trip has prompted me to add a couple of things to my bucket list. First, I need to experience the Avenue of the Giants topless (the Jeep that is) as a passenger so I can gawk the whole time instead of having to watch the road.  Second I need to come back without Nellie :( because pets aren't allowed on any of the trails. :(  :(

This week I have been completely overwhelmed with awe-inspiring beauty!  Between the ocean and the redwoods I will admit to tearing up.  I can't describe the feeling of touching a 600 year old tree and waking up to open Little Chicken's door to see that tree first thing in the morning.  Amazing!

And last but not least the fanciest Super 8 on the planet lives in San Francisco. 

ps. Got to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Very cool. The fog was so low that I only got one little glimpse of the top. That was cool!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Random Traveling Thoughts

Coming out of the mountains into Colorado Springs was amazing!  The winding mountain road opening out onto high desert plain...beautiful!

It is interesting to drive through places I've driven many times and see it completely differently, almost as if I haven't ever been there before. That happened as I was driving north from St. George. The mountains were so pretty, and seemed unfamiliar. I thought maybe the sky was bluer or it was a different time of day, which may have been the case, but I saw the mountains like I hadn't seen them before. Interesting experience. Maybe I need to look at more things in my life with new eyes. Wonder what I will see. Should be interesting. 

I've seen quite a bit of wildlife in the last couple of weeks. Even saw a roadrunner in AZ. In Colorado Springs I woke up early one morning for a bathroom run and to my great surprise a two point buck was grazing on the hill about 20 yards from me. He looked up at me and went back to grazing like I wasn't there. Lots of squirrels, chipmunks, birds, heard about bears in the campground, but didn't see any, lots more deer, and even a herd of antelope. 

If you are looking for an Italian driving experience in the US, take 89A through Jerome, AZ. Reminded me of Cinque Terre except that there was actually room for two cars to pass in opposite directions. :)

Here's a being judgmental about someone else being judgemental. Sitting at the DMV the two men sitting one seat down were commenting about how the little girl (probably 9 or 10 yrs old) standing at the counter was dressed like an old lady, and her mom looked like a Walmart shopper.  I didn't look over at them though I was sorely tempted. Then their number was called and they walked in front of me. There are not on this earth two people who look more "redneck" than those two.   I must say, though, they gave up their easily accessible front row seats to an elderly lady and her helper.  Quite tempted to chuckle aloud. 

Some things that made me laugh aloud today: 1) the tough-looking cement truck driver barreling down the street with smoke barreling out of his nose.  I'm guessing from an e-cig because regular cigs don't create that kind of volume. 2) Just saw the cutest family cross the street on the way to the beach; mom, dad, two dogs, and a pot-bellied pig (on a leash no less).

Driving down the pacific side of the Cascades I was struck by how tall the trees are. Another thing I'm seeing with new eyes. I need more tall trees in my life. :) 

More work on Little Chicken

I've had a little time to work on the to-do list. So here are the things that are no longer on the list. 

Finished painting the roof. 

Added a bungee on each side of the galley hatch. And a lock

Added a handle to the galley hatch

Added a license plate. 

Finished the port side door. 

Now everything left on the list is inside, like finishing shelves, and trimming the inside of the windows. 

We were ready to roll before, but now we're REALLY ready. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tiny House Jamboree etc.

I will now list for you the things I liked and didn't like about the Tiny House Jamboree. Let us begin with the dislikes. 1. Too many pitches from tiny house builders.  
2.  Not enough DIY houses on display. 

Now for the likes. 
1.  Spending time with my tiny house friends from San Diego. 
2.  Lots of great ideas for tiny house designs/layouts/materials. 
3.  I love how much everyone loves Nellie!
3.  Beautiful handiwork in the houses displayed. 
4.  Debi's never-ending squirrel and sleeping bag adventure. 
5. Pancake breakfast at Jellystone, with Yogi bear showing up to greet the kids. 
6.  Some of the speakers were very informative. 
7.  The food trucks. Period. 
8.  Beautiful Colorado Springs area. 
9.  Fantastic RV community that is so welcoming, friendly, and helpful. 
10.  Did I mention that Nellie is almost everyone's favorite?  I'm thinking of starting a blog called "EverybodylovesNellie" dot com and posting pics of random people loving on Nellie. Could have had some great ones of our toddler camping neighbor feeding her. SO cute!
11. Amazing scenery traveling to and from Colorado...including the flash flood thunderstorms. 

12. Even though it made for a big crowd, I love the amount of interest in simplifying life and taking more responsibility for and being more aware of our personal resources. 
Ps. 17,000, yes that is 17thousand people attended the Jamboree.
13. Everywhere I went, people were interested in Little Chicken, and a little surprised when I told them I built it myself. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Work continues on Little Chicken

I realized that in the moving frenzy I failed to post a bit of progress that was made before the final moving insanity began. I had finished some inside trim. 


Random photo of the day: at the big house just after we moved in I planted a nectarine tree. It grew nicely the first two years and this year gave a bit of fruit. But SURPRISE! Not nectarines! Peaches!  6 of them. Before I moved, I picked a few and boy are they tasty!  Too bad the pears still have a month to go. The tree is loaded this year. 

Well, I was hoping to do a bit of organizing this morning before heading out, and clean myself up in the lake, but we are getting rain this morning, so maybe the organizing will have to wait.  
Monday was a total washout.  The rain I mentioned above turned into a downpour, so I packed up in the rain.  As  with camping I really don't like packing up everything when it is wet, but not much choice there.  Headed south to get out of the rain, which worked until about 8:30pm when we drove right back into a rainstorm.  The lightning was spectacular! And there were at least two rainbows.

I have a confession to make.  I'm back doing my old roadtrip habit again.  Yes, that one where I tell myself that I'll drive just a little further and then stop for the night, or stop for the bathroom.  Last night we got into the campground at 10...dark...very dark...backed Little Chicken into a spot, just hoping and praying that I didn't hit anything.  It turned out well, but was really stressful.  So, today I decided I wasn't going to do that anymore.  The new rule is: The first campground we come across after 6:30pm is where we are staying for the night.  Tonight it turned out to be the KOA in Montrose, CO.  I should have gotten a site with hookups.  As it stands we got a tent site, but we are parked on gravel, with only gravel to put out chairs on.  To bed early, too many mosquitoes anyway.  Somehow we managed to get inside Little Chicken and not bring any mosquitoes in with us.

Today took us through Arches National Park.
Little Chicken in the Garden of Eden

Little Chicken near the Fiery Furnace

Dogs aren't allowed on the trails, so we didn't do any hiking or trail walking, but it made for a beautiful drive through.  Love Arches!!

Wednesday August 5, 2015
May need to modify my new rule a bit. After an evening and morning on gravel, we passed quite a few campgrounds that looked really nice that were closer to the Arkansas River, and I think we would have quite enjoyed them. I must say we did stop for more potty/walk breaks today. It was a loverly day for traveling. Little Chicken felt right at home as we drove by Blue Mesa Reservoir. 

Jellystone Park in Larkspur, CO is our current location. Already met some great people, and my tiny house friends from San Diego will be here tomorrow for the Tiny House Jamboree Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. A Great BIG WAHOOOO!!

Little Chicken's debut...about time!

Friday July 31, 2015 Little Chicken got her first official ride today.  After I corrected some loading issues, she rolled along marvelously.  Big shout out to Enterprise truck rental and their customer service!! Another big shout out to Discount Tire who did the usual complimentary tire pressure check, but also checked Litttle Chicken's lugs to make sure I torqued them just right...and then helped me turn my drop hitch into a lift hitch.  I couldn't get the nut off the ball to turn it around. Not their normal realm of activities, but they helped me out nonetheless.

Despite being exhausted to the extreme, I thought I'd stop by the DMV and get a plate for Little Chicken.  Technically, because of the weight, no license plate is required, but I'd like to get a vanity plate eventually, so getting a plate to begin with, besides I don't know the laws in other states.  Better safe than sorry. As I turned down the street where the DMV is, there were cars lined up in the parking lot and a line of cars waiting in the street to turn left into the parking lot.  Needless to say I did not join in the throng. As I drove by all the waiting people, it occured to me that it was the last day of the month.  That explains a lot.  Maybe I'll hit the DMV in St. George.

This afternoon I've really been enjoying the birds at my campsite.  The people next to me have a hummingbird feeder out and there have been a few flying around.  I love the sound of their wings.  Then I took a nice nap in the shade and woke up to a small yellow bird, maybe a finch?, and a red-headed woodpecker in the tree above me.  There are swallows swooping and diving to catch the bugs in the small meadow next to my campsite, and where the sun is right now the bugs are visible. If you watch carefully, you can see a bug disappear when the birds fly through.  There are crows pecking in the meadow, and robins, and another kind with spotted bellies.  They make quite a chorus all together.  

Game show for today: Guess That Slogan!  How to play: I give you a company's slogan, and you guess the company.  Please phrase your answer as a question. (hehe) Today's slogan is "Yesterday's meals on wheels."  For the answer see the bottom of this post.

Saturday August 1, 2015
Decided to stay in my camping spot for another two nights.  I really need to finish up a couple of things on Little Chicken and rest before I undertake any more driving.  Went to the hardware store and got what I needed to finish a couple of things like the skirt for the roof vent.  So here's what I've done today.

Litttle Chicken now has locking doors

The galley has now been trimmed. (yes, I cut the trim with a box cutter)

The roof vent skirt has been started.

Sunday August 2, 2015
I'M CAMPING!!!  And it is GLORIOUS!!  I have a spot that is sunny in the morning and shady in the afternoon/evening. Close to the beach (lake), and just the right distance to the bathroom.
Discovery of the day (or night).  The mattress I got for Little Chicken is memory foam and is obviously not meant to be the primary sleeping surface.  I will be stopping at the next IKEA for a different mattress to be topped with the current memory foam mattress. ;)  Today's activities will include rest, organizing my stuff so it isn't just thrown in anywhere, and finding a Wi-Fi hotspot so I can update you all.

PS. Nellie is the greatest camping dog on the planet!  Don't know why I was worried about that.  She stays right in our spot, and sleeps in Little Chicken like a champ. 

Today's Guess That Slogan answer: What is a sewage pumping company slogan, located on their pumping truck that just drove through the campground? HEHE!