Monday, April 30, 2012
There are TV's on the wall. I actually enjoyed a show on Sloths. I guess it's been a long while since l've watched any TV. I think it's been a month, nada, none, zilch. Not that l was ever a big TV watcher. Didn't even have cable at home. And most of the time when l was in the hotels, it never got much use from me.
Documentaries on Discovery have always been my TV of choice, now maybe Animal Planet may have to join that honoured position.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
It was nice paying so much less for gas once l crossed the boarder. In Canada it works out to $5.00 a gallon, and in Michigan it's $3.78. ( l miss the days when l payed 99 cents a gallon in Virginia in the year 2001 - l'm sure everyone does though)
The cats fared well, they slept most of the way. Tommy took the passenger seat in the sunshine and Charlie retired to the loft. I had my eyes on the road the whole time, promise.
It seems like it is going to be a warm night. Yeah!!!!! Finally. And it's time for bed now. Ciao! :-)
Saturday, April 28, 2012
I got a call yesterday from a friend. She saw a mouse in her basement and was wondering if Charlie was available. Killer Cat for Hire.
Well it happened this morning. I'm actually suprised that it didn't happen sooner. Since the past couple of weeks the weather has been very chilly at night. My water was frozen this morning. Not my holding tank, but the fresh water coming into the city connection.
I have to say l am really looking forward to warmer weather. I still feel like l cocoon in my camper van when it's chilly outside.
Anyways, back to the water issue. So this morning l went back to the "Little House on the Praire" style and carted in my water needs in my cooking pots. It wasn't so bad. It was a bigger struggle putting the frozen hose into my rear box then most mornings. I'm sure in the thick of August l will be thinking how l could go for a few less degrees, but right now, l'm hoping for more. Strange us humans....never happy!!!
Friday, April 27, 2012
It happened to me today. I was backing out the side door, the natives (the kitty cats) were a bit restless and l didn’t want them running out in the parking lot l was at. I pressed the lock on the door and shut it, only to realize my keys were sitting on the counter.
Now, you might think that was all bad. But l had a few back up plans for just this problem. First of all l could call CAA, but that would take too long, and why bother when l had already planned for something just like this.
I have to say, l didn’t think it would happen so soon into my trip, but prepared l was. The reason l was ready for this, l had read about Glenns’ (www.tosimplify.com) fun time squeezing thru the top window of his van when he had locked himself out with his Falcon running and his navigator inside (his cat). And for icing on the cake, I believe he was in the middle of no-where.
So after my friend J built my shelf, l thought it would be a great idea to put my extra set of keys on the shelf in my pen holder that is up there. Then, l would know where they were if l ever needed them (everything in its place). And two, l could open the window reach in and grab the spare set. Unlike Glenn, l is not Spiderman.
I went and borrowed a chair from a local business – it was either that or a wire coat hanger, because l could open the side window and feed the coat hanger thru the window and grab the keys with the hook part. Within five minutes l was back in, chair returned.
I love Libraries. I love books. I love bookstores. I hope the three never go away.
Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers out there are fantastic with their capabilities to hold thousands of books in the size of a small paperback. They are fantastic for when you travel. That being said, there is nothing better then browsing through a library or bookstore, flipping pages, smelling the paper and ink, stopping on pages that catch your eye.
I am sitting in a library in Waterdown, Ontario doing paperwork for my job. It's nice to see that people still use the library. I don't know if the library would get as much attention if they didn't have Internet and computers. There is a fair amount of traffic checking out books though, and that is good to see.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
I've noticed the same group of seniors come in every morning enjoying their discounted coffee that comes with free refills. Will they miss me when l leave in a couple of days. Probably not. That's okay. Didn't hurt my feelings. I guess if you don't have things to do, you get to enjoy the finer things in life like free refills at McDonalds.
While l appreciate the fine folks at McDonalds supplying me with free Wi-Fi, l do miss having access to it at night. When l was travelling around in hotels, l always had it. Sometimes the connection was piss poor, but l still had it. The last couple of days l have been researching a plan to purchase. I haven't jumped yet since l will be in the USA for 2 months, and my Canadian plan won't work there. Well, actually it will work, l would just have to sell a kidney to use it there. And while l have two, and both function, ya just never know when you might really need that second one for yourself.
I spoke with a representative at Costco yesterday day gave me some great information about tablets and phone plans. I have a pretty good one now, but need either a smart phone or a tablet in the future. When l'm ready to jump l will be hunting that guy down.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The only problem with that choice was the heater was almost at face level to me. I eventually turned it off at 4 am and just had the propane furnace on if l needed it. Also with the electric, heat rises, so the floors were freezing. Better then the night before though! :-)
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
[caption id="attachment_850" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="This is not the right valve"][/caption]
I saw snow flakes Monday, which my flakes don't even come close to the 8 inches New York is getting. All l can say is "Thank God l'm not in New York".
With the propane filled l can heat the van, heat the water and cook the food...all the basic necessities of life.
If we didn't have those really nice, unseasonable warm days already this year, the weather would be easier to take. Having the weather behave like an eratic yoyo makes it hard to enjoy the snow, wet, cold days. But l have heat, so life is good!
Monday, April 23, 2012
Mean while, l had a great idea on Saturday. My neighbours at the park said their gas fired furnace in their RV wasn't working and they were using an electric heater. It's like a light bulb when off in my head (l'm actually surprised that l didn't think of it sooner - oh well, better late then never). Every park l will be going to will have electric hook up, so why not get an electric heater was my thought. And use the propane for back up.
When l was out visiting friends on Saturday (it was nice being in town close enough to visit even though l was working on the road), l stopped by a Walmart with S and was disappointed that they didn't have any in stock. Lots of air-conditioners, but no heaters.
I thought it could wait until Monday. NOPE! Not that there was a Home Depot open at 10:30 pm on a Saturday night anyways.
Even on Sunday l was teased by the Universe when my friend called me around 7pm saying she had found one at Home Depot that she bought for me and l will pick it up next Saturday. Did do me much good Sunday when the heat went out at 10 pm, but it will in the future. So Thank you S.
When l went to bed l piled on the blankets, four in all, and two cats. Yes it was that cold. It was around the freezing mark, and l've never been a fan of winter camping. I fared pretty well snuggled down deep. I had pulled out an old heater that l had for when l went tenting years ago. And l used it to warm up the van in the morning (it emits carbon monoxide so not safe to run at night while sleeping). I'm so glad l had it. It helped when getting dressed.
Next on the list - fill the propane and get that electric heater. The are calling for snow.
- Have things with multi purposes. The luxury of having an item for one job, is just that, a luxury. And not very conducive to living in a small space. It just won’t fit. So the more purposes a single item can fill, the better.
- Everything has its place, and once used, needs to go back in that space. Thereby, eliminating the hours searching for the lost object. Of course, this could also be a sign of my age :-) Or finally, all my years of collecting useless information has filled my brain to capacity.
Those two rules l can live with to have the freedom of living in my Camper Van.
It’s pretty cool to have everything l own with me. I no longer risk forgetting to bring something to work with me, because, it’s here with me 24/7. The farthest it is away from me is the parking lot. :-)
Sunday, April 22, 2012
As you drive through the country side coming up to the park, it’s flat green fields. There are horse farms, berry farms, and not too many other farms. You see, under that greenery, only about 3 inches down, is this…..
[caption id="attachment_838" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Rock Wall in Olympia Village RV Park"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_836" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="A True Rock Garden"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_839" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Another shot of the rocks"][/caption]
It’s like someone build a stone wall, brick by brick, laid flat and then covered it with dirt. I don’t know, but l’m guessing no one in this area has a basement.
The RV park is adding more sites to it’s roaster, and has had to dig through this with a jack hammer attached to a backhoe to make the ditches to lay the pipes for the water, electric and sewer.
Can you imagine being a pioneer a couple hundred of years ago thinking you have just staked your claim in this area, that is green and bountiful, only to find rock, after rock, after rock, after rock to infinity.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
In the picture the bottom display is all the gauges l know about.
The one l knew nothing about is the top wall fixture the “Micro Alarm” (who knew it was an alarm clock). One night after getting the van as l was driving home from a friends place after dinner, it went off. Even though there were no lights displaying(meaning it wasn’t ‘ON’. I just started hitting buttons trying to make this most annoying buzzing sound go away. I did drive home with an elevated heart level that night, since l hadn’t had a clue what set it off. And, as you know, l have a slight fear of propane and vans exploding.
And here it was all along a flipping’ alarm to wake you up. Well…..it woke me up, so l guess that was a success.
Honestly, read what is printed around the buttons you push to set this damn thing? Am l the only one that had to live in this Falcon 5 days to figure it out?
[caption id="attachment_831" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Alarm - sorry it's blurry best l could get with a crappy camera"][/caption]
Oh well l guess l wanted an adventure. Who would have thought, l could get it right here in my own van. :-)
Friday, April 20, 2012
I opened the side door to the campervan and let my cats out for some fresh air and some leg stretches. At first Charlie the scare-dee cat, who is also the most phenomenal hunter of the two, wouldn’t go out. I guess she got Stockholm syndrome. She didn’t want to leave her captor. Tommy was braver and didn’t need any coxing.
Eventually, the thought of going out and smelling all the good scents won out. They both came and went, in and out, over the hour that they were out there. Which l have to be honest, l was so surprised that they willingly came back into the camper van. It was a gamble that l let them out. I was hoping that after 4 days being cooped up in the van, they would realize, it wasn’t so bad.
I am actually surprised that there has been no puking in the first hour of the adventure. Usually, one pukes on car rides. This time, no one (not even me!), for four whole days. Today they both looked very relaxed when l was driving around on appointments. It is a big relief for me. And so l felt maybe it was time to try the experiment of freedom.
I am happy to report the experiment was a success. The cats consider this their home too! :-)
Thursday, April 19, 2012
It just me and my two cats in this van, and those little guys don’t take up much room. I’ve got their kitty litter over the bathtub, and then two little dishes, one for food, one for water. I am amazed that some couples full time in a camper van. I don’t know how they do it. It really is a tight space, l would think some blood would be shed before too long if a couple were to shack up in one of these.
I can’t imagine plunking down a hundred grand for a new one of these things and then find out it’s not enough room. That would hurt the pocket book for sure.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I am continually adjusting my living space....it will be nice when l can have everything in it's place. I just realized l brought 5 sweatshirts with me....l will be purging some of those once l wear them! Might as well, no sense in throwing out clean sweat shirts. I would give them to charity, but the ones l plan on getting rid of are the ones that l have hung onto way past the point of recycle. They are blessed and 'Holy" beyond repair.
My fridge is working. Too well, actually. It was on Max for the last couple of days and has chilled things in there to a nice solid frozen. I'm sure the ambient temperature outside helped the fridge. I have turned down the temperature on the Fridge, so that should solve that problem. Once the cob webs (figure of speech) got out of the fridge, it seems to be running well)
I dumped the holding tank last night, no problems there. Yeah!
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I was busy doing paperwork last night in my cosy little cocoon. Problem is my printer crapped out on me, so l've just hit the local Walmart for another one. Try as l might, l can't clear the none-existant paper jam. There is nothing there, l think the feeder wheels are not grabbing the paper, thereby causing the machine to think that there is a paper jam. Or perhaps the jiggle of the van has damaged it??? Who knows.
I'm amazed at the low cost of printers out there. I've just purchased one for $36.00. It scans, copys and prints......fantastic deal. AND l dont' have to sell a kitty to buy the cartridge refills.
This morning l organized things a bit more, l think this will be an ongoing process as l continue to live in the van.
Monday, April 16, 2012
I have a whole bin of work file folders and then another of personal file folders, with spill over from the work one. I may have too many blankets, and of course, l have four pillows.....but those are a must have! It's amazing the shit you collect over the years, and l have purged, with a capital 'P'. I have to go back over it again and let more go.
In the back box l have tools, which l really don't want to get rid of, just in-case. And l will never part with my hammer (since it does double duty as my starter :-) ) Give me time, and l will get ride of stuff. Especially if l have to move it too many times. I'll become heartless and toss it.
That being said....l am amazed at how much this little van holds.
I climbed on in with them and they settled down pretty quick. They did their snooping around, sniffing and rubbing. It just remains to be seen how much they will like or not like the driving aspect of it. We all slept well. It was quite mild out last night. And to my suprise the neighbourhood is quiet.
When l drove off this morning, l had my little divider in place, which Charlie quickly breached. She did a spider-man move on it, scaled it and went over the top. I am using bird netting to separate the two areas, the cockpit and the living area. I was hoping to keep my cats in the living area as l drive. As you can see.....that plan might not be sound.
Charlie was climbing up and around everything as l drove. Up on the dash board, from seat to seat. I continually had to pick her up and place her back down off the dash board. It was a game we played for about a half hour, then she settled down in my lap.
Tommy stayed in the back. Being a bigger cat, he couldn't quite breach the netting. I think he sat on the couch the whole time, but it was dark and l was distracted by Charlie to really pay attention.
This was all done in the dark at 5 am, so l hope the other drivers didn't see the shenanigans going on in the home on wheels.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
[caption id="attachment_799" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Storage Box"][/caption]
l de-winterized it, flushed out all the lovely pink anti-freeze. They had hooked up a plumbing by-pass for the winterizing so l reversed that, ran water through the city water connection. Kitchen sink, shower and toilet all function. Yeah!
I washed and waxed the van and it looks really good. It's like l gave the old girl a face lift. I can't get some of the age spots off of her, but l am happy with the result. Not bad for a 1988 Ford Falcon. I fixed the door trim that was falling off on the passenger side door. Snug as a bug now.
[caption id="attachment_798" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="All Sparkly & Clean"][/caption]
Also on Friday l went to a friends for dinner and had to earn my keep by moving some of her furniture around (just kidding). She has a condo that had a flood a month ago (apartment 5 floors up sprung a leak) and has just had all the floors redone and needed her furniture moved back. Dinner was delicious.
Then it was Saturday.
On Saturday l went back to J's, the friend that built the box for me and helped him rake his yard for a couple of hours. He has almost 10 acres, so it was no small feat. I've got the blisters to prove it. Okay, we didn't do the whole ten acres, not by far, and there were a number of people there helping....but l still got the blisters.
I had also forgotten to get a piece of wood cut for my tub/shower when l was there on Thursday. The wood is to cover my tub/shower so l can place the kitty litter on it while the shower is not in use.
[caption id="attachment_802" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Kitty Toilet"][/caption]
I know Glenn from http://www.tosimplify.net/ choose to take out the passenger seat for the kitty litter for his navigator, but that seat is just too comfortable and l will need it for my office. So for now, the cats will have to go to the bathroom in well, the bathroom.
I did meet a couple from the conference l went to a couple of weeks ago that have trained their cat to use the toilet, even in the RV. Can you teach a couple of old cats, new tricks? Maybe after their trauma of moving into a house that moves l will give it a shot!
J also helped me fire up the water heater, furnace, stove and fridge. I have to admit, l am a bit leery of propane. And since this Falcon hadn't had the propane appliance used in over a year, l wanted the comfort of someone l trust, that is handy, there with me when they were fired up for the first time.
You see, l've had a bad experience with this liquid called propane. J and l had a landscaping and pool business many many years ago. We had had a propane van. One that actually ran on propane. It was an old city van that was converted by the city to run on propane instead of gas. Well, that van exploded on us one day. Needless to say, l have been traumatized and a bit scar'd by it!
We had it stored inside in our storage unit, when we went to the unit one morning, we entered the unit, and then plugged a tool in (don't remember what it was). That was a big enough spark to ignite the propane that had leaked out of the van overnight. Propane is a heavy gas, and lays low on the ground. Next thing l remember is flames shooting across my sneakers in a wave.
I lost some eyebrows (just temporary) and J had some pretty bad burns (also temporary - since propane is a gas once it's gone, it doesn't damage the skin anymore. Where as gasoline is a liquid, it boils as it burns, causing more skin damage, and results in scars). It put a healthy dose of fear in me for that propane. For a long time, just lighting a BBQ scared the shit out of me.
Good news is....no wait....GREAT news is that the stove, water heater and furnace works! Double Yeah! The verdict is still out on the fridge. We could get it to ignite.....but it wasn't on long enough to see if it gets cold. I am very pleased that everything seems to be working, since l didn't try anything and took the vendors word for it - and even then they only took the guy they bought it from 'word for it'.
J also build a little shelf for me. Took him 5 minutes with his table saw, and just needs to be painted. It's not going to be chocolate brown like the box, so it will have to wait until l decide what to paint the interior of the van. I also still need to do interior work on the van, new laminate floors, the carpet in the front needs to be ripped out, and what ever other adjustments l need ot make to it to work for me. For now, she's almost ready to roll (save, what l have to do today).
Friday, April 13, 2012
Yesterday l built a box for the back of my van. Okay, l just assisted a friend while he built the box for the back of the van. Today l will paint it. That was a dilemma, what color to paint it? I choose dark brown. It will tie in with the van's stripes. The weather is supposed to be nice and warm today (high 50's ...lol), at least the sun sill be shining and l can work outside without a coat.
I am going to try and get all packed up today, wash the van, wax the van, paint the box, organize inside the van, cut the curtains to length, then hand sew them at some time in the next week or so (best case scenario - this weekend). I'm going to try and get the cats acclimatised to the van this weekend, which means l will be van living this weekend too. I have my first meeting with the new campground at 10am on Monday morning.
.....ahhhhh.....too much to do, must go do now!!!!
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
It's cool(okay, that's optimistisk - it's actually cold) and cloudy today but the garage is a must.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
It's amazing how much stuff we have as a society. In the last 40 years we have gone crazy buying things, while actually trying to buy happiness. Garages are no longer for cars, but for overflow from the house. Storage lockers are plentiful throughout North America (a relative new phenomenon the last couple of decades). We all have stuff we don't use/need/want. And we still buy more.....
I'm hoping this move will free me even more then the freedom of travelling around in my camper van. I'll be breaking free from the consumerism, will you join me?
Monday, April 9, 2012
So l went to start my van again (looking back, l'm not sure why l decided to start it again), and it wouldn't start! My lights wouldn't come on, nothing electrical would work, and it wouldn't turn over.
I popped the hood to see if the battery was still connected, it was. I put it in gear, wiggled the gear shift it around a bit. Still nothing. So what did l do next. Of course l called a friend. Who was just as puzzled as l was.
It was dark out now, so l decided to wait until the morning to see if the battery was dead (which l thought not possible since l had just started it prior to when this fiasco started).
So this morning with the friend back on the phone, l went out to see what we could figure out. Once again, tried everything, thinking maybe the gremlins had disappeared overnight. No such luck. :-(
I popped the hood, put the jumper cables on the battery to see if l could get a spark. Yep. Real strong spark. So it wasn't the battery (that saved me digging out the house battery for a boost). My friend suggested to look at the starter that was installed not too long ago ( a month ago - but really the van wasn't driven much since l have been out of town with rental cars). Of course, l went down below with my trusty hammer and gave it a wack ( a love tap) when l was down there. I was looking to see any loose wires around the starter, l couldn't see shit!
I then went back in the van and for shits and giggles, tried starting the van and Voila......the bugger started.
Friend was just as puzzled as l was. I guess l will have to go back to where it was installed and get them to take a look- see at it. I'm so glad it wasn't something else. If it was a short in the wires.....where would one begin to look!! So the fact that it was the starter again....l'm actually happy!
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I'm not sure l will miss my suitcase, as much time as we have spent together, l will be glad to let it go. If it meant that l wouldn't be travelling anymore, that would be a different matter. Since l will still be travelling, it's not a biggie!
Now to pack up the camper van, it shouldn't be as much as a challenge (l'm sure l will still pack too much) for me as people who haven't spent the quality time with the suitcase!
Friday, April 6, 2012
Since l am an organized person, that will help me be efficient and successful. And at least l won't have to depend on a partner who isn't committed 100%.
When l get home, l might be heading out right away to do a project, or at least in the very near future, so l will be concentrating on packing and getting the camper ready and organizing my office in it. Thank God that l have taken the odd weekend l've had at home and started that whole process. There will be a few more trips to the Salvation Army where l will be donating most of my stuff.
I will miss the weather and the blue skies, the weather at home is only in the 50's, so out come the sweaters again!
Thursday, April 5, 2012
What a beautiful area. I would highly recommend the Sunland RV Resorts to anyone. The resort we are staying in is the Emerald Desert RV Resort from the Sunland group. The RV resort l am at (yep, resort, not a RV Park), where the convention is being hosted is outstanding, from the manicured lawns to the gorgeous pool area, the putting green, tennis courts, the fantastic weather, the happy people l will be working with and for.
[caption id="attachment_776" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Pool at the Resort"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_777" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Resort"][/caption]
The last couple of days have been busy, busy, busy. I learned their new to me, and new to them, computer program that will be my virtual office. It was really interesting to see just how well put together South East Publications is. They have a desire to make themselves the best, and are moving at lightening speeds to accomplish that.
An error was noticed before lunch with the computer program, and it was fixed by the time we came back from lunch.
Tuesday night after dinner we had a auction where the proceeds will go to KOA Care Camps. Every staff and sales member donated something to be auctioned off. Then Wally the President will match all those donations and present a check to KOA Cares Camp to send kids to camp. Over $20,000 was raised for the kids camp.
When l arrived, l was greeted with hugs, when l said goodbye for now, hugs were given to my new found friends. Everyone was very open and sharing with how they run their little business, l got many tips, and am ready to hit the road running.
As a side note. I did give my notice at my old job, and l have heard nothing from my boss. Just silence. I would have at least expected a request to "talk about it" when l get back from my "vacation". I have made a great choice for me and am moving on to a company that will appreciate me.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
I stayed at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas. My room was great. It was clean, very roomy, had a view of the pool. And as you can see in the picture above, a phone by the toilet, just in case???
[caption id="attachment_756" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Pool view from my room"][/caption]
I headed out of Las Vegas Monday morning bright and early. It's pretty amazing how quickly Las Vegas ends and the desert begins. It's almost like a line was drawn in the sand, and no one could build past it.
Most of the drive there were the small cacti on the floor of the desert, then l hit the big times and drove through the Cacti Forest of the Mojave Preserve.
[caption id="attachment_765" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Cacti Forest"][/caption]
The mountains are pretty, one peak had snow. I also saw what l believe to be a dormant volcano, you could see the black lava rock where it flowed many, many years ago.
[caption id="attachment_759" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Dormant Volcano"][/caption]
Also, it looked like a dried up lake bed (in the for front of the picture). The further l drove, l discovered it was man made, and has something to do with the extraction of Chloride.
[caption id="attachment_762" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Chloride Pond"][/caption]
I had an overwhelming urge to hold my breath as l drove through this part.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
The plane ride was uneventful last night, and checking through the security and the customs was a breeze in Toronto. Not nearly as busy as during the week when l usually travel out of Toronto Airport. Not that l will be doing that anymore, anyways. Not my problem, but someone's else's.
Last night after l got to the hotel, l moseyed up to a "lunch counter" at about 12:30 am Vegas time and treated myself to a steak and eggs dinner. Yeah, l know, 9 hours late (since it was 3am Eastern time) l had had a late lunch and never had dinner. I might have sat at a table, but the restaurant was hopping at that time of the night. My dinner cost me a whopping $3.95. Wait, with tax a total of $4.27. It was a decent size steak, 2 eggs, has browns and toast.
Vegas isn't know for their crazy food deals anymore, so that was a treat.
Not sure what l will be doing today. I've seen the strip a few times, so that's not drawing me. And l will be driving through the desert tomorrow on my way to Palm Springs. I might just hang outside catch some vitamin D and read my manual for my new job. I've got to gear up for the conference and refresh myself on the things l learned on policy and procedures a month and a half ago.