Seekin' My World

Brenda's wanderings and wishings

Carizzo Plain April 10, 2016

 

This was the weekend for the Wander the West get together at Carizzo Plain. I got there but couldn’t find the dispersed camp, even though I went back and forth twice. It was raining and mucky, and I just chickened out. Headed for Morro Bay instead. I hope a good time was had by all, and I look forward to the reports.

Carizzo entrance      WTW mud

I have a few mods to share. I made a campsite occupied sign out of plastic corrugated sign material. It is called Coroplast. It is lightweight and waterproof. It came with a flimsy metal stake for putting in lawns, but the Death Valley gravel wouldn’t let it penetrate. So now I just clip it to 2 one gallon water bottles. I am hoping this solves my ongoing problem with losing my site even though I paid for it. Unfortunately with a camper you take it all with you. And I don’t want to leave anything too valuable out to claim it.

sign2      sign 1
With some leftover I made two turnbuckle covers that have screening to allow air flow without bugs. It really helps when the fan is sucking out to have cooler air coming in.  I blatantly copied this but can’t for the life of me find it now. He used a picture frame and bungee cords. Mine is lighter and uses the existing slides to keep it in.

vent 1     vent 3    vent 2

I also hung a cargo net I had leftover from my Toyota Highlander from the knobs on the sliding cubbies. It corrals my shoes yet allows opening the cubbies if necessary. I copied this from Bill Harr (Bill’s version). His is first, mine is next.

billharr shoes     net 1

I also got pictures of the ironing board inside as a table, since I shared it on WTW but didn’t have a picture.

table 1

I also needed a better way to corral my step stool. I lost the carpeted area that held it with velcro when I installed the Dometic. So I made two loops through the heater vents with zip ties. That lets me use a bungee to connect around the step. I am really trying not to make any holes in my rig. Takes some creativity, but that is half the fun.

step bungie     step bungie 2

This was the first trip with the Dometic and I have to figure out how to pack it better. But I was so pleased with the way it operated. My secondary battery was a little low when I left, so it was having trouble coming down to temperature, plus I put warm drinks in instead of pre-chilled as advised. So I grabbed the ice chest just in case. But in retrospect, the ice chest rides well in the space, is velcroed down, and fits more cargo than the Action Packer I usually put staple food supplies in, so I will probably switch the ice chest to my food locker. If I pack it with interior containers, I would have the benefit of having an extra ice chest if necessary. Double win! Plus the nice flat, metal top could be cooked on if necessary due to poor weather (like this weekend).

So it was an interesting trip with some high points and some low points, but the adventure continues.

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Dometic Fridge March 13, 2016

Dometic in place

So excited, I got my Dometic CF-040AC110 CoolFreeze Gray Refrigerator from Amazon, through Camper’s Paradise for $539.00. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) It was a good price and didn’t have shipping or taxes added to it. I ordered it on March 8 and it arrived on March 11. I live in a rural area that takes an extra day or two to get anything from UPS or Fedex. So I was very pleased with the delivery time. The 35 and the 40 both take up the same footprint, and since they were the same price, I went for the larger, taller unit. It is a good thing that the lid comes off, because it wouldn’t lift fully with the camper top down.

Dometic lid lift

I used footman’s loops and web strapping to secure it. For now I only put two straps on and it seems to be holding, but I will have to see what happens fully loaded and on rough roads. I may put in an L bracket on the front edge to keep it from sliding.

Dometic strap down     Dometic strap close

It sure came down to the set temperature quickly. I put the external sensor from my thermometer into the fridge to see what it was running. There is quite a difference between what the external thermometer says and the digital readout of the unit. But I will know better when I test it with real food. It is also very quiet when running, shouldn’t effect my sleep at all.

I did put two of the Crystal Geyser 1 gallon jugs in, just to see. I haven’t really got a good place to store them and I like chilled water much better than lukewarm. They fit side by side well, but I don’t think 4 would fit. Oh, look, it does! No room for anything else though. (Where are the emoticons when you need them.) Insert “grin” here.

Dometic 2 gallons     IMG_3410

I really debated where to place it. I wanted to be able to access it from the ground, so I am chancing that the heater (which is right under it, behind the step stool) won’t interfere. This also places the weight pretty far back, but we will see. The provided cord reached the 12V socket, just barely. And there is still room for my ironing board and Thermarest pad to ride back there.

Dometic cord stretch

If it hadn’t, I would have been forced to put it at the other end of the bench, putting the weight directly over the wheels. It may still end up there, but for now I am pleased. The handle also nicely solved the problem I was having of things shifting and hitting the switches for the external LED flood lights and amber porch light.

Full view     Dometic switches

I also pulled a few things out of the couch storage that I haven’t used. No reason to keep carting junk around. And it made room for two more gallons of water in front of the battery and all the kitchen stuff to be consolidated at the back end, for ground access. Adaptations based on last week’s trip.

Anyone know how to store a cast iron pan so that it doesn’t rust? I am not a cast iron newbie. I “understand” seasoning.  I’ve been using it in the house for years, but in the camper I am already having trouble.

Edit: I liked the way the water bottles fit in so I cut the top off and use them as organizers in the Dometic fridge.

      

 

Mojave 2016 March 6, 2016

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Destinations — Sierrashadow @ 1:55 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

IMG_3351

After Death Valley, I headed south. I was tired of the crowds of flower watchers. I will come back to Death Valley some other time, but it was nuts!

thermometer   IMG_3349

I haven’t been through Baker for thirty years or so. Wow had it changed. Neither of these two “landmarks” were there before. The wacky things they will do to attract tourists.

salt evap   salt crystal

On the road from Amboy Crater to Joshua Tree there are Salt evaporation channels that are the most amazing turquoise color. Not sure what the process is, but it was an interesting view.

JT rig shot   JT view

I camped in Indian Cove Campground. It is in Joshua Tree, but not on the main tourist road. It is between 29 Palms and Joshua Tree, so close to civilization, but the sites are well spaced with rocks between most, so it feels very private, although still in a crowded campground. I am not quite ready to make the break to true boondocking, but the over use of generators may be rapidly pushing me towards it. And there was an annoying drone flying overhead. That was an invasion of privacy and probably illegal as well, but not worth the trouble to protest. I chose a well shaded site, since I arrived at 2:00 and it was warm.

IMG_3371   Jt meal

Even though I was close to civilization, I felt like cooking again, but wanted breakfast for dinner. I hate making that kind of mess in the morning when itchy feet are begging to leave and hit the road. But it is perfect at night. Spent the next two days visiting my parents in Long Beach and a college friend in Ventura. All in all a nice little get away trip. I made the mistake of mentioning to my mother that I wanted to buy a 12V compressor fridge (Engel, ARB or Dometic) but my husband says you can buy an awful lot of bagged ice for what they cost. She asked how much, so I shouldn’t have been surprised the next day when she gave me an envelope with 5 crisp 100 dollar bills. Pushing 60 years old and the parents still spoil me. My husband spoils me too in letting me go without making me feel guilty. He’s just too much of a homebody. I tell everyone the ATC is just perfect for one, you have to be “really close” to fit two in there comfortably.

Safe travels y’all.

 

Death Valley 2016 March 3, 2016

One shouldn’t start their trip with a camper shell this dirty, but the California Central Valley is a buggy place. Pulled in to Red Rocks State Park off Highway 14 as a possible camp spot, but for $25 a night they were just too close together and blah for me.

1 buggies   2 Red rocks

Went on up the road to Fossil Falls BLM campground and pulled in just at dusk. Got the last site and it was perfect. And free! Saw my first wildflower, with many more to come.

3 Fossil Falls   4 flowers

Got up early and entered Death Valley through Panamint Springs. What a dramatic way to enter the park. Glad I wasn’t towing a vehicle down that decline though. Love my ATC!

5 DV entry

I need a better camera than my cell phone, but the flowers were amazing.

6 flowers8 flowers7 flowers

I don’t know what this orange growth is, but in college (many years ago) my roommate draped it over her head as a wig. I was still too clean to attempt that!

9 flowers orange

I drove out to Aguereberry Point, which was not too bad a gravel road. I didn’t go all the way to the top, but far enough to get the overlook into the Badwater basin. The tip of the antenna in the second photo is where I was at Aguereberry Point from down on the flats at Badwater.

11 Auberry   12 Badwater antenna

Obligatory Badwater photo. Artist’s Palette is an amazing drive and I was glad to do it in the late afternoon to get a better contrast. The clouds also helped with contrast too.

13 badwater obligatory   14 artist palette

I had seen this gal out scrambling the rocks with her boyfriend. Not the usual attire for Death Valley. Must have been a day trip from Vegas.

15 dress

Got an edge site at Sunset campground. I need to come up with a better “campsite reserved” system. My site was stolen again even though I had the tag posted on the pole. Fortunately the site next door was open and equally good (ha – they are all about the same, kind of like parking in a drive in theater only level).

16 relaxing      17 DV camp

A fellow Wander The West member wandered by and said, ”You must be Bseek?” I feel a little famous, or is it just a small, tight group? Anyway it was good to put faces to the code names from the forum.

I decided to cook dinner since the Resort was so expensive. They know they have you over a barrel since they are the only game in town. I am refining the system to cook on the ironing board, and everything is accessible in the camper from the ground level. Ice chest on the bench to the left, floor as a staging area, and pot & utensil storage to the right under the couch. See the black and silver object just above the California map? That is my 12V RoadPro oven. I made cookies (well baked them anyway). I pulled a few frozen dough globs from home and baked them in camp. Yum! Since it gets dark earlier in the winter, it is nice to have the rear LED lights, although they are a little too bright for neighborliness.

19 cook floor     21 cook set up

I have made four improvements to the sleeping compartment since my last trip. One was putting a sheet on the mattress. Much nicer. Second, I use a Thermarest camp pad as a headboard. Keeps my hands and head much warmer since I don’t have the Arctic Pack option. Third, I covered the vent with a reflectix pad using a few command picture hangars. They are like Velcro that sticks together, but can be separated easily. And if it doesn’t work, you just pull on the command strip and it releases cleanly. Insulation and darkness since the cover is transparent. And the most controversial change is that I mangled out the rivets on my lifter bar attached at the top of that shiny silver frame on the wooden panel. I was just so dang tired of bonking my head on it. It really opens up the space, and since I am the only one lifting and lowering, I know to be careful to keep it engaged in the holes when lifting/lowering. I wouldn’t do it unless I had the exterior lifting shocks to keep the roof up. I may rethink it if I get into any howling windstorms, but for now it is a big improvement.  (before and after)

img_5065   22 bed new     23 reflectix vent cover

I’ll leave you with this hint of where I went next.

24 alien

 

ATC Bobcat 2015 April 25, 2015

Filed under: Waiting for the ATC — Sierrashadow @ 9:34 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

So we finally pulled the trigger and ordered our Bobcat for the Toyota Tacoma. So I decided to resurrect this old blog from 2006. Deleted the few teaching posts because I am retiring at the end of this school year. New focus, new directions. The title still works well, maybe even better.

The guys at ATC have been wonderful to work with. We really struggled with the decision to go with a dinette or the couch. The couch won out. It just has so much more storage space and doesn’t poke out into the cabin as much, yet makes into a comfortable bed. That was the selling point, comfy for a visitor or myself if I don’t want to “pop-up” for whatever reason. I was stuck on the dinette because we like to play cards and Rummicub across from each other. But we are getting a small bench seat on the driver’s side with a 2″ cushion. For the short term that will be enough to allow face to face seating.

Speaking of that small bench seat, I have to shout out to this website: http://travelswithrockythedog.blogspot.com/2012/06/our-new-camper.html and the Wander the West forum members. They have been very informative and helpful making this momentous decision. I showed the ATC guys a picture of exactly what I was expecting the driver’s side to look like based on the above website. I am hoping that makes for fewer surprises.

We opted not to get the ATC table for now. And then at a yard sale, there was an ironing board that “clicked” in my brain. Narrow and long like the couch and cabin, yet lightweight, adjustable height, and able to be taken outside. So for two bucks we are going to try that first.

Because the Tacoma is a wimpy truck, I have to keep the weight down. And we didn’t want to hassle winterizing. So no water, no indoor cooking built in. Just a comfortable bed, a heater, and a bug free place.

I have been playing with dimensions and ideas for storage. It seems like forever to wait until June for the camper, but considering I still have a month left of teaching, probably best if I don’t get too distracted.