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Showing posts from April, 2014

What Does "Profoundly Satisfying" Mean?

While converting my new cargo trailer to a travel trailer, I've had "profoundly satisfying" experiences. The question is: does this phrase really mean anything, or is it just a pretentious way of saying, "Wow man, like, this is a great experience?" I want to believe that this phrase is significant.

But before theorizing and explaining, let's put some 'boots on the ground.' I apologize for these details. They are petty in themselves but they keep me from floating in the clouds of platitudes and generalities.

For instance,
1) An incipient purchase of a major item brings on anxiety. In my case I altered the freshwater tank and procedure in my old trailer, just because I wanted to see if the improvement would work in the new trailer. I haven't changed this in a decade. Why not? Why had I procrastinated so long? Did I really not believe that the water pump could self-prime by lifting water upward for two feet?

Anyway, it can. Now I just bring in a 5-gal…

"Kabloona" at the Four Corners

Last week I went to Utah to pick up my new cargo trailer. It was a long drive, so I decided to spend the night in my tow vehicle (a full-sized van), and pick up the trailer the next morning. How odd that I had never done this before! It was pretty uncomfortable sleeping in the back of a van with four bicycles inside. Nobody wants to roll over in bed and plant their face into a greasy bicycle chain.

But after a bit of obsessing over 'space' I started to grow suspicious that this reaction was too conventional and easy. Perhaps I was mislabeling the problem. The real problem wasn't space per se, tight as it was. The problem was 'transitioning.' 

People (like me) who aren't any good at transitioning can easily dislike conventional travel. It never occurred to me that the problem wasn't travel per se, but rather, packing and unpacking, looking for everything, zipping and unzipping, forgetting stuff, learning and unlearning daily habits, etc.

The real breakthrough i…

Vertical Freedom for Travelers

Motorists are not completely oblivious to gaining or losing altitude, but generally they think in terms of miles traveled.  Horizontal miles. The same is true for most RVers, since they are just motorists. Of course the limiting case of "horizontalists" are boaters.

Bicyclists and hikers can go both directions. One way to quickly assess a new hiking or cycling buddy is to see where they line up on horizontal/vertical divide.

The limiting case of a "verticalist" would be an ice or rock climber.

Leaning heavily towards the verticalist end of the spectrum is the back-country, RV-ing dispersed camper. (I frown on the term, boondocking.) In particular, it has always been my dream to get higher ground clearance in my rigs, especially the travel trailer. Of course, the low spot on most RVs is the holding tank drain valve. A commenter once encouraged going to a welding shop and having a serious steel-skid-plate installed, to protect that vulnerable drain plumbing.

Actually 3 …

How to Enjoy (RV) Home Improvement

Farmington, NM. My goodness, how long has it been since I had a paintbrush in my hand? Seventeen years, perhaps? But there I was in Home Depot, actually looking at color charts. I smiled, reminiscing about seeing women looking at these charts. They were transfixed -- it was some kind of religious experience for them.

You know what? It was kind of fun. The color shade of "Navajo Sand" caught my eye. But say, which earth-tone color should a traveler be loyal to? Think of the reddish tones tones of Utah sandstone, the pallid calcareous tones of West Texas and New Mexico, and all the colors in the geology of our travels. Which one was best?

Who thinks up all these names that are used in the color charts? What was their college major? You'd think they would run out of words. I'm not sure the words are even that accurate. 

Now then, what color is best for the floor of my new cargo trailer? Forget 'pretty'! Some sort of buff color, resembling dirt and sand, is best.


Update on RV Boondocking Rig -- Sold!

Apparently my boondocking travel trailer has been sold. Tomorrow I drive up to Utah to pick up my new trailer, a rather standard cargo trailer. 

Those who do something like this might be wise to order a trailer in the slow season, that is, any time but spring. Of course your winter location might be a long ways from your state of residence, where you will need to drive to, in order to register the trailer. 

Because spring is the busy season, I would have had to wait ten weeks if I'd ordered a trailer just like I wanted. That pushes the conversion into the Dry Heat of June, quickly followed by the monsoons in July. Thus I bought one off the lot.

Doing a conversion needs more than just good hardware stores and lumber yards. It should benefit from a commercial infrastructure of  "hard hat" and truck industries. There are remarkably few practical cities in the Four Corners area. Farmington NM is such a place, probably because of its oil and gas drilling economy.

Better yet, I f…

How to Start RV Boondocking Camping Easily, Cheaply, and Quickly

I have a bumper-pull travel trailer for sale: 1997 AeroLite, 7 X 21 foot (nominal), weighing 4000 pounds loaded. (I am the original owner.) It would work best for a single person. The inside standing height is 6' 3.5". 

At its weight you can pull it with any half-ton pickup truck (e.g., Ford F150), Tacoma or Frontier, or truck-based SUV, Chevy Astro, or full size van (e.g., Econoline). You wouldn't want to use a crossover utility vehicle (CUV) or a 4 cylinder truck.

This travel trailer would be a clever way to slip into boondocking if you are uncertain whether you will really like the lifestyle, and you don't want to spend a lot to give it a try. It would be a fair test; otherwise you might use a rig that just isn't meant for dry camping, with the result proving nothing. 

This travel trailer would also be ideal for someone who doubts their skill or interest in volts, amps, sabre saws, and electric drills. All of that has been done a long time ago. You can start …

Why is the Anti-Hero So Important in Classic Movies?

The other night I was re-watching Billy Wilder's classic movie from the early 1950s, "Stalag 17." It is a strange mixture of comedy, detective story, and cynicism. William Holden certainly deserved the Oscar he got for Best Actor.

The commentary track kept talking about how good the comedic supporting actors were. I could not agree: the comedy seemed dated and un-funny. But the anti-hero, played by William Holden, did not seem dated. Why?