Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Lesson Learned. Again.

I would have put a picture of an elk right here, but for today’s trip to do laundry and visit the dump station and get a few more tomatoes at the market inside the Grand Canyon in preparation for leaving tomorrow, I figured, “Hey, what would I need the camera for? I’m not visiting anything.”

On the way into the park, a couple of cars are pulled over because there were two elk a couple hundred feet off in the thin woods. Naturally, the people were taking pictures. I do my business in the park and leave. Lo and behold, I’m tootling along on a small road leaving the market, and three cars are stopped in the opposite lane. They’re stopped because there’s a standard-sized elk with a full set of moss-covered horns grazing right beside the road. And I don’t mean fifty or 100 feet down, I mean two feet from the edge of the pavement. Paid no attention at all to the cars.

Outside the park, a van has pulled over and a woman is photographing a few elk grazing in the woods. Back at the north end of Tusayan in the four-lane, the right lane is stopped completely. At first, I thought it was one heck of a 35 MPH chain reaction accident, which

of course made no sense. Then I see that people are on foot and milling around, going to and from their cars. Why? Off to the right in a very nearby clearing are several elk grazing. I could have clogged that lane better than any of ’em, but I have no camera. Lesson learned once more.

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One of the things I did on this trip in was to haul in a discarded lounger that was crapping up the campsite next to me. I’m amazed that people will occasionally leave things out there where they stay, as if it will just decompose and go back to nature. There was also a residential-style window screen frame down the road in a bush, but I forgot to stop for it on the way to the park. They have dumpsters in the park, for those who don’t view campsites as their own personal toilet.

Before I left camp though, a county sheriff stopped by to remind me that no open fires are allowed. It has been extremely dry and windy ’round these parts, and a major fire has been having its way father south between Flagstaff and Sedona, he said. Mandatory citation if they catch anyone, but with all the signage, you’d have to be the kind of person who discards furniture at campsites to earn one. He was a young officer, real nice, and shook my hand after I told him I was about to return to Illinois the next day. Well, maybe it wasn’t exactly like that, but he did shake my hand as we said goodbye.

The market in the plaza is really quite something, as they not only have tourist souvenirs and gee-gaws, but camping equipment for rent. As you all know, I really enjoy spending money, and happened to spot the very same model of Victorinox folding utility knife (#39 Camper) that my mother had given me when I was a troubled teen. Handier than a gun at a knife fight. Had both stanley and phillips screwdriver tips, leather punch, can opener, bottle opener, two blades, etc. I had loaned it to a friend decades ago, who promptly lost it and couldn’t seem to remember ever borrowing it, whatever. I missed that knife, and nobody ever seemed to stock it. I’ve had others over the years, but they all had problems of one sort or another. So I bought this one. I was surprised to see a little Grand Canyon logo on it, but that will probably wear off in a couple of weeks. Oddly, even though she didn’t give me this new one, I remember Mammy every time I see it. Just as good. Now all I have to do is figure out how to properly rotate it with carrying my pappy’s old Case pocket knife that I’ve been using since. That reminds me of him. A pleasant problem. They kinda liked each other, so I don’t think there will be any jealousy. The Case is a very tough and high-quality knife, while the Victorinox is a no-nonsense problem-solver. I’m set for life.

I then spied a very nice Grand Canyon souvenir T-shirt with a cougar on it, and picked that up for my little grandson. I hope it fits. He’s almost three and I think it will fit, but at the rate he’s growing, I better not stretch out my return trip to my home turf.

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Yesterday I made it to the airport on the bike just to see aircraft taking off and landing. Lots of people, it seemed to me. Oddly, after I returned home today, packed away the food and clean clothing, and began this article on my iPad, a car pulled up, people spilled out, and they began taking pictures and knocking on the door. Turns out they had just completed a helicopter tour and had flown over a weird TT with some big solar panels hanging off the side, making for a rather expensive awning. They thought it was notable enough that they actually hunted it down to investigate. See, one of them is another RVer who just picked up five big 230-watt solar panels. Sheesh! The Defiant’s funky setup is just weird enough to raise questions about the how and why of side-mounted solar panels. Naturally, I’m too lazy to explain much of the whole thing, and gave him the Strolling Amok blog address so he could dig through the 200-plus posts to find the one diamond in the cowpie that he needs. Once he reads that, he’ll know not to do what I’ve done.

Posts from this point on will be pretty thin and look a little odd (like this one), since the WordPress software for the iPad is a little gimpy. But since I hope (weather permitting) to stow the panels and drive a little for the next nine days, I don’t want the office battery pack to sit partially discharged over that length of time. (That”s one of the drawbacks of not having the panels mounted permanently on the roof – no recharging during transport.) So I’ll use the iPad, since that uses almost no electricity.

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6 thoughts on “Lesson Learned. Again.

  1. Rod Duell on said:

    Thanks for sharing your lifestyle with us Doug. Your reflections and perspectives are a gift.

  2. Have a safe journey to your home turf and enjoy the grandbaby. Hope the shirt fits. Interesting they would spot you from the air then track you down like that. Also, couldn’t you get a battery separator and hook your house battery bank to your alternator through that to keep a charge on while you are driving???? Shouldn’t cost too much, just a little wire and the isolator/separator and connectors. Will miss your posts.

    • Thanks, Swank. I have hopes of posting each day of the journey – if interesting things don’t prove too elusive. By thin, I meant like broth, devoid of substance. But I hope to indicate for the uninitiated just what travel in this tub is like when cheaping my way across large distances. My travel is odd in that it’s just travel, stop to stop, until it’s over. Not much driving scheduled for each day, and neither is sightseeing. That kind of travel may come later.

      The towing electrical plug on this thing is connected to the two hybrid house batteries that are now 1.5 years old and not as robust as they were. There’s a wiring issue to a 12V outlet by the TV that drops voltage, and in fact the trailer’s harness is pretty crappy. That’s one of the issues I needed to address this year, but lost focus. I could interconnect the house and office batteries for travel, but really don’t want to do that to the alternator, which would then be pushing 8 batteries total instead of “just” four (the truck itself has two). So I currently use the house batteries modestly in the evening, unplugged from the truck. When I resume driving the next morning, the TT is plugged into the truck again. Someday I’ll get a battery separator.

  3. Linda Sand on said:

    I hate when picture opportunities arise when I don’t have my camera. I missed several before Dave reminded me my phone can take pictures. Can’t get used to this new-fangled phone. Does your iPad take pictures?

    • Nope, it’s the first version, which doesn’t have a camera. It’s just as well. I always seem to be shooting in direct sunlight, and can’t see LCD screens then anyway. Can barely tell if they’re turned on. Not having a viewfinder is supposed to be “modern” on cameras and videocams, which explains why I’m still using an old DV tape camcorder. These days, only semi-pro and pro videocams retain viewfinders. $$$. My plain phone has a camera, but the quality is crappy and I haven’t figured out how to send the pics to my desktop computer. So I don’t bother, especially since I now have a standing policy not to learn more than I have to for each new electronic gadget that will have to be replaced in 2-3 years anyway. Life’s too short to waste it hunting through ever-changing menus.

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