Seekin' My World

Brenda's wanderings and wishings

Grand Canyon Attempt – Failure December 3, 2016

Filed under: Bobcat travels,curtains and steps,Destinations — Sierrashadow @ 1:51 am
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Since I was down in Long Beach for family Thanksgiving, I took that opportunity to head for Arizona. My goal was the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, but I guess the last week of November was too optimistic. Things were great until Needles, but then the storm clouds started brewing. By Kingman, I tried to go to the BLM camp I found, but went six miles up the road until it turned to a dirt road. I knew I had at least another mile left, and didn’t want to get stuck in the possible snow and clay slick. So I chickened out and got a motel room. It was 28 degrees at 4:00 p.m. and only going to get lower.

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In the morning, the hills around were dusted with snow, so I felt like I made a wise choice. When I got to Williams, the road to Grand Canyon was closed. So I drove to Flagstaff in the snow. It was dry blowing snow that wasn’t really sticking to the roads, but people were driving full speed (70 mph!) down the highway! I decided to turn right towards Phoenix hoping the road dropped down quickly. I drove an hour in the snow, at one point low visibility, too. I tucked in behind a slower car with flashers on, and went a reasonable speed. I was so glad to see the big advisory signs for trucks warning them of a 20 mile long 6 percent downgrade. Sure enough, shortly I was out of the white stuff. I decided to stop at Montezuma’s Castle, the first cliff dwelling I ever saw 40 years ago. There used to be a campground there, but not any more. The ranger directed me to a State Park, Dead Horse, about 30 minutes away in Cottonwood, Az. I got there at dusk and holed up while it continued to rain. Good thing I was holding on to the handle when I stepped out in the morning. My step stool had a thick layer of ice on it.

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I did some shopping in Phoenix and Sun City. Realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore when I saw the parking dedicated to golf carts! The people were bundled up in ski jackets when it was 60 degrees out! Warm enough for me to indulge in a little frozen custard.

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I bought a little Christmas cheer for my camper. And just for the sake of documenting, I have a picture of the little ice chest I use as a step to get in and out of bed.

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The next two nights I ended up in an RV park. I had to warn both places I was a cabover camper, not an RV, but they were fine with it. One was just outside of Yuma and the other was El Cajon.

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Next morning I went to San Diego Old Town. All decorated for Christmas, and before things opened. My idea of fun, no crowds.

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Then I headed up PCH looking for a beach site for the night. San Elijo was full but she told me Carlsbad would have some for sure since they had 70 sites free last night. I got a nice one, but all the cliff side ones were reserved. I just moved my chair over to the empty site and chilled for a while until the occupants arrived. Two big RV’s that totally blocked my view, glad I enjoyed it earlier.

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Fitting to end with a Sunset. I felt like the whole trip was a search for the sun. Finally found some, but three hours after this clear sky shot, it started raining lightly. And then perfectly clear in the morning. Reminded me why I like my ATC, weather tight comfort. The Santa Ana winds were whipping through the Orange County-Los Angeles County area. I had to pull over to the slow lane to keep from being blown around. But arrived back in Long Beach to see the other half of the family who had the audacity to go on a cruise for Thanksgiving when their only daughter was coming their way (just kidding mom).

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Potty Box (Pretty Personal Revelations) August 7, 2015

Filed under: curtains and steps,Hygiene,Modifications — Sierrashadow @ 6:50 pm
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I never wanted a “PortaPotty” so ATC built my couch with as much storage as possible. I was using a small pitcher and Reliance Poo Powder, but squatting over it became problematic.

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I am discovering I am not as young as I used to be. So I bought a tote at Wal-Mart and cut a hole in the top. It is a comfortable seating height. I use a larger pitcher, lined with a baggie inside. The latches of the box keep things securely aligned.

Potty box inside Potty box

I couldn’t find any Poo Powder although I stopped at nearly every Wal-Mart, Fred Meyers, Cabella’s, Big 5 and Bass Pro from Seattle to Sacramento. I thought about using a diaper since that is legal to put in any trashcan. I decided to use the adult incontinence pads – Maximum flow. It fits in the baggie lined (Glad Twist Tie Gallon) pitcher well and contains the overnight amount needed for me. The rest of the box is filled with extra Lynx Lifters freeing up other storage areas and keeping the box lightweight and plastic in case of spillage. It fits perfectly in the space next to the ice chest and cook kit or in my aisle.

side load 1privacy curtain

Also, I started using a Bali Scarf as my rear curtain. Two small binder clips on the aluminum frame of the lifter panel keep it up.

And I installed a paper towel holder. Two pieces of hook velcro with a mini grommet punched in it. Then string a shoestring through the grommets and the roll. It hangs on the fuzzy side of the velcro installed by ATC for the All Weather Pack. I can move it to many places in the rig based on need.

IMG_2215Turtle and towels

Edit after one year of use: I rarely ever use the incontinence supplies any more. I found if you are close enough to civilization for a trash can, you are probably close enough for at least a porta-potty. I still use the bag within the pitcher inside the box with a lid system, but just bag up the liquid on a daily basis. I knot it and carry it out in a nylon dry bag with a small folding scissors and a small zip lock baggie into the rest room. I cut the bag carefully above the liquid below the knot at least an inch leaving a handle at the knot, grab the opposite lower corner, tilt it diagonally to drain, put the empty disgusting baggie into the zip sandwich baggie and zip it. Place that into the trash. By using a dark colored dry bag, the kind you roll the top on and clip the sides together forming a handle, no one can see in. It looks a little like a purse. I then roll the dry bag up with the scissors inside and put it in my pocket. Needless to say is it a dry bag dedicated to only that purpose.

In a year, I have never needed to do #2. That will be another adventure.

I also just noticed the turtle stool. It worked great, but we needed it for another purpose around the house. I grabbed a six pack mini ice chest that we had. It is the perfect size, the top is a bit “spongier” feeling but supportive enough. And it is much easier to put stuff in than slipping it under the stool. Plus the side legs of the stool slipped into the crack of the couch and the ice chest doesn’t. Plus if I want to take a picnic lunch…

 

Successful Maiden Voyage

My first trip was a solo, and I was gone a month, but half of it was an Alaskan cruise. That hardly counts for this blog, but I have to say Holland America cruise line sure treats its guests well.

I left fully loaded, and I mean fully. I was taking 400 pounds of books and supplies to my niece in Seattle who has been teaching for 4 years. It filled the whole aisle of the camper and all the available seat space in the DCLB truck.

Katy 1 Katy 2

I managed to camp at Valley of the Rogue State Park in Oregon by crawling over the boxes to pop the roof up. It was 108 degrees so I dawdled over my Red Robin dinner and spent some time in the mall because it was air conditioned. Since I had reserved the site I wasn’t too nervous about getting there before the masses. Very nice halfway point.

After unloading the boxes at her school, I went to Wenberg County Park about an hour north of Seattle. My son lives in Everett, so it was the closest camping to his house I could find. The loop I chose had a very nice new bathroom, but backed right up to neighborhood housing. I happily spent the evening resorting my stuff and figuring out where to place it. My plan to keep the ice chest and cook kit in the back seat of the truck didn’t work well since I would be chauffering my grandsons around for a few days. I was pleased to see that the ice chest and cook box fit well on the driver’s side bench. I put the 2 inch pad vertically in back to protect the wood, which freed up the loop carpeting they installed on top for using velcro. I rigged up velcro straps to hold things in place, and it traveled very well there.

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One thing that did not work well was where ATC placed the light switches for the rear lights (see photo above – on rear wall but too low for me). Any shifting of cargo on the bench seat held the possibility of turning on the switch, which happened at least three times during the early part of the trip. I decided to pull the fuse out and mark where it goes. So if I want the rear lights, it becomes a more complicated procedure to climb up to the front and install the fuse, but better that than depleting the battery or annoying neighbors and motorists behind me.

I found a hitch step at Cabela’s that I like. It flips up when not in use, but it is pretty small.  I won’t use it in camp, but it was a hassle to un-velcro the step stool every time I wanted to get in to the rig. So it works well for in-transit stops. I think it was $54.

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After the cruise I stayed at Millersylvania State Park.

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And Cannon Beach – just parking lot camping at an RV resort (no pix). I told them all I needed was legal and level. I paid $24 for that, but it was peace of mind.

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And Valley of the Rogue again. Overall it was a nice shake down trip with no cooking. I probably shouldn’t have even brought the cook gear. Live and learn.

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I keep my Strongback chair, a red mini table with 2 cup holders, and some poles for an awning on the bench behind the couch. I was having trouble getting down from the bed at night, and once I got home I realized that I had a small collapsible stool (turtle style) that fit perfectly in that front spot. It is the perfect height. I had been using the top of the couch which was hard on the upholstery and a little dangerous since it wobbled.

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Overdue Posting June 29, 2015

Filed under: curtains and steps,Modifications — Sierrashadow @ 12:47 am
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I can’t believe it has been 2 weeks since we picked up the Bobcat. I have been having a blast figuring out where and how to put things in.

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I found a nice fabric for the curtains and have been sewing up a storm. I am using Command hooks to mount them, but the hot temperatures have meant the mini-hooks aren’t sticking as well as I would like. I had to switch to the larger hooks with more contact surface, but if that won’t hold I will have to put in cup hooks. I am trying not to make any “permanent wounds” in the Bobcat. The hardest window was the one in the rear door. It is plastic with a rounded frame. No way to wedge something in there. This morning it dawned on me how I could deal with it. This has not been field tested, so it may not work, but I used super strong, tiny round magnets in the curtain and “sandwich” the screen door with a second magnet.
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As I think about it, I think I will put it on so that the curtain itself is between the screen door and the solid door. This will only go up in crowded campgrounds, so not often.

I am discovering that velcro will be my best friend. I am carrying a Strongback chair on the little shelf under the side window. Since it is covered with carpeting, the velcro sticks, and keeps the chair from sliding around.
a chair strapped
And I found a step stool that works well for $70. I wanted a hitch mounted step, but the Otto step for dogs seemed a little too flimsy for us. Again, I mounted it just inside the door with a strip of velcro to hold it in place. Notice the ironing board on top of the pad. It is the perfect table solution for us, works well in the aisle, and can be taken outside to use also. http://www.wayfair.com/Hailo-LLC-2-Step-Mini-Step-Stool-4310-HAIL1001.html?a step outa stool stowed
I found boxes and containers for all the cubbies. I find it easier to keep things organized when you can pull it out and rummage through. You lose a little space, but it is worth it. The white ones are available everywhere and the blue ones are cheapies from 99 cent store. The folded curtains fit nicely in that little space on top of the blue boxes.
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I also must not neglect to thank the guys at All Terrain Campers. They made the whole purchase procedure extremely easy. The camper is everything I hoped it would be. It drives like a dream on the Tacoma. I can feel it a little on hills, but not too much. And the visiblility is much better than I expected. It really doesn’t hang over the sides and back more than a few inches. It is a well built piece of equipment that should provide many wonderful hours of traveling.