Having purged tanks at the LTVA dump station Thursday, and stocked up with fresh food on a run to Parker Friday, I’m now ready to get back in the groove and see how long I can leave the Mighty Furd unused in camp. That should be awhile, perhaps longer than it should sit unstarted. I’ll be wiring in a little 10-watt solar panel to keep its battery topped up and desulfated, if only I can track down the special and now spare solar controller reserved for that task. See, I tucked it away someplace safe while it was at the Ford dealer, and now the challenge is to figure out once more where that safe place was. Ever do that? I have to conduct such searches every now and then. It’s here somewhere!
Although the Defiant is decently leveled out nearly a football field away from my nearest neighbor here at the LTVA in Quartzsite, it was necessary to use one of two long boards that I keep specifically for that job. Getting the trailer level is necessary since the fridge/freezer depends on it for efficiency, and the various cabinet doors as well as the bathroom door will want to swing this way or that if it isn’t close to perfect. Using boards under the tires can become a nuisance to set up as well as store however, and one cracked in half on some particularly uneven ground near the Grand Canyon awhile back. At some dump stations, like in Wickenburg, Arizona, the Ford needs to climb up on smaller 2x4s on one side to get the Tankmin waste tank at least level, if not positively tilted to drain. Otherwise, the rinse-out process will not be as effective, and its drain hose will be be more prone to clogging. So around Rancho Begley, level is a serious detail.
But the twin 2″x6″x4′ boards for the trailer take up a lot of space in the truck bed, and aren’t so delightful to monkey with when trying to get the trailer up on them just so. It can be quite a process. A few campsites have needed more lift than they offer, too. So when I spotted a couple of fairly compact Anderson levelers that potentially do the same job with considerably less monkeying, I got interested. They are curved ramps that stay with the tire instead of staying flat on the ground. So, once in place, leveling is merely a matter of pulling the trailer forward or back slightly and keeping an eye on the trailer’s level gauge. Once happy, stick the included chock underneath each ramp, and the tires no longer think they are on a slope. Done. Since the Defiant’s already up on a board, I won’t be disturbing my existing setup until I break camp for Yuma. But when I do depart, those two existing boards will be residing in the local dumpster, and good riddance. There is some question of using the Anderson ramps on closely-spaced tandem axles, but I’ll clear that hurdle when I get to it. I’ll post a full usage review (like anyone would care) when I first put them to use.
Lastly, since I no longer have any tolerance for broadcast TV and live in happy ignorance, I’ve splurged and added to my DVD collection with some not-so-serious media. This was a result of grabbing some of my fav Disney Goofy cartoons of the 1950s from YouTube, and they reminded me of several Looney Tunes classics from Warner Brothers that I’ve always gotten a kick out of. More than several, as I began to realize. Really good cartoons weather repeated viewing even better than really good movies, so I sprung for DVDs. Twenty-four DVDs in a massive collection. Why mince around? Purchased as a complete group, the price was right. At about sixty animated shorts per each of six four-disc sets in the so-called Golden Collection, mixed with my low threshold of entertainment, I should be sick of Warner Brothers cartoons in no time!
I think it’s worth noting that the Looney Tunes series, when the characters hit their stride by the 1940s and 1950s, were not developed for children. As always, they were built to precede the main films in movie houses, which meant adult audiences. The transition to television came as the theaters lost ground, but TV didn’t pay its way, and the end for Looney Tunes was set in motion. “Progress” often leaves some good in its wake, along with obsolescence. To amuse adults in this series, the bar for image, action, voice, music, sound effects, subject, and character development had to be set considerably higher than for the kiddie fare. There’s a lot of background material included in this DVD set, and if you can handle timeless humor, parody and stereotyping, it’s a bargain.
I took the Evelo Aurora e-bike out for a 10-mile jaunt the other day to locate another camper, and found Highway 95 running toward Yuma to be way too creepy and dangerous for bicycle travel. The pavement stops at the sideline stripe, and the edge of the pavement then drops down abruptly into a highly-sloped loose gravel shoulder. Staying on the pavement is a good way to get tagged by passing traffic, and picking one’s way along the lower parts of the shoulder is a very slow and tedious process. Where available, the maintenance trails for utility poles become a workable alternative, though they become a challenge wherever they cross washes.
I did find two things which I now hope to investigate. One is an ATV trail that crosses the broad main wash going through Quartzite, starting about two miles south of the center of town. It should be a doozy, since it combines violent dips and rises with deep sand and gravel. But it’s something to check out.
I also have in mind an exploratory trip toward Blythe, California, some 20 miles west of Quartzsite. There appears to be a roadway/trail running alongside I-10, but I have no idea whether it’s a real road throughout, or a Jeep trail in spots with some violent climbs and descents. Blythe is a usable stop for food and hardware, a little more than half the distance to Parker. Carrying a spare battery pack for insurance, the Aurora is easily capable of that round-trip distance, but my posterior is not. So my goal will be to try to make it to at least Ehrenburg, just short of the Arizona-California border, road permitting. This little butt-buster will need to wait a couple of days at least, since a cool front with accompanying high winds are due in tomorrow. I plan to be staying in the rocking trailer, keeping an eye on the solar panels and watching the dust blow around. After that though, anything goes.