Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Daily Life”

The Sound of Music

The Photographic Studio and Audio Workshop at Rancho Begley, officially designated the “Command Center”.

It all started in the Defiant’s front “bedroom”, since converted by my son into a working office and library. Notice the record turntable in the far corner? Once I hit the road, I methodically sawed through literally hundreds of LPs, 45s and 78s to record them into raw digital form. With no space to store many boxes of records, this was the only way that I could continue to listen to the wide span of music and comedy that I’ve always enjoyed.

Talk about intense activity! Looking back, I don’t know how I kept at it so relentlessly – except for the realization that if I didn’t accomplish recording the whole pile of the most significant works (significant to me, anyway), then they’d have to be given away quickly or trashed without, and so disappear forever.

To cut the time needed to record each disk, they were all played at 78 RPM or whatever speed would allow them to play without skipping. Many records were worn, some were damaged, and nearly all presented the little clicks and scratches that characterize vinyl music. When that task was completed, the digital recordings stayed intact on a reliable hard drive. Now they’ve been waiting years for me to get back to them and translate them into a clean, listenable form that could play on a computer or smartphone accessing decent speakers.

They were recorded off the turntable using Audacity, a free and quite capable audio program. The first step to deal with the result is to pull each file up, rediscover what speed it was recorded at and then alter it to play properly within Audacity. It’s edited to whack off the extra nothingness at each end, as well as any pause recorded while the disc was flipped over to side B. Very few records are clean-sounding enough to export directly into an MP3 format, so that requires a translation into an .aiff file (or other format) that ClickRepair can deal with. ClickRepair is a very capable click removal program that fortunately can do a very credible job when allowed to operate automatically on its own. That generates a “cleaned” .aiff file that can be called back into Audacity or, when necessary, pulled into Denoise (created by the same guy who made ClickRepair) to get rid of background hiss. Whatever. Audacity can then be used to adjust the volume to workable levels, accomplish any final trimming, and export the file into a compact MP3 format that can be played on just about any device extant. To conserve limited hard disk space, the .aiff files must be deleted once the final MP# has been created.  Naturally, all this editing, cleaning and file format translation absorbs quite a bit of time to grind through.

So, as of late, my idyllic camping experience has more resembled a Read more…

Campsploring Turned 4-Wheeling

Even this flat rock shows why a tire’s shoulder wrap can become vital when rocky roads loom.

Yesterday, I attempted the trip from my campsite near Cottonwood to Mingus Mountain Recreation Area via fire roads. And yes, “attempted” means that I didn’t make it. As I mentioned in my previous post, the blessing of “Approved for Camping” on any National Forest MVUM implies neither areas usable for camping, nor passable conditions for anything short of a Unimog.

After picking up a package in town, I doubled back to my campsite on NF-593 and then kept going. The shipment didn’t arrive until about 3:30, so that signaled that time might become an issue in making this trek. As soon as Read more…

Wickenburg Ho!

The moon over Wickenburg.

The start of the tour this year is off to a bit of a rocky start, due to a heat wave. I overnighted at the Bouse RV Park, which was an oversight on my part. I had the impression that they had a section for dry camping for $8, but that was apparently one of the many other parks in town. I took advantage of their shower, which was at the far end of camp and nearly 1/4-mile away. The advertised WiFi could be logged onto, but was comatose for function, and overnighting made taking advantage of water and electrical hookups more work than it was worth. I’d have been better off backtracking to one of the many free boondocking spots along Plimosa Road. Live, and learn.

Wickenburg is about an hour away, and I was determined to horse the Mighty Furd over a somewhat challenging trail on State Trust land. This popular dry camping area is about 4 miles south of town off Vulture Mine Road at GPS: 33.912405, -112.810666. This time, I wanted to end up at Read more…

What is Seen, Cannot Be Unseen

No pictures today. They’d be too horrific. This day was spent at the Ford dealership while they dismembered the Mighty Furd’s front suspension. Got there ar 8AM, left at 4PM when it because clear that all of the needed work could not be completed by the time the mechanics end their workday. The suspension will be done and the new shocks are on, but then there’s the alignment and that bad tension pulley for the serpentine belt. They graciously carted me all the way out to Wellton, where I got out only to hear a newish Chevy pickup owner across the street climb into his cab and yell with a grin, “And they told me I should get a Ford!” Hyuk hyuk. Your day will come, my friend. Your day will come.  …Or maybe you’ll trade it in before that day of reckoning and lose your wallet in that manner. In the end, we all pay.

My service writer had approached while I was in the dealer’s waiting room, once again looking like the messenger of doom. “Bad news, huh?” I asked.

“I’m afraid so,” he replied, looking very uncomfortable.

“They found something else?” I offered.

“Oh, no,” he said, “It’s just not going as smoothly as we hoped.”

“So it’s not about money, just time?” I asked.

“That’s right, it’s a time problem.”

“Then enter, friend!” I said, “Have a seat here and relax. I can take anything but finding more parts going bad.”

He explained, “There’s enough rust on the fittings that things have resisted coming apart, even with spraying a lot of Read more…

Labor Day

Not clean, but cleaner. On the left is what I started with, and on the right is a relatively clean but not pristine cleaned area.

One task that’s never mentioned with pop-up truck campers is cleaning the flexible fabric walls. That’s probably because there’s no glamor in it. But, it has to be done, and sooner rather than later. Today’s little exercise shows what happens when you don’t or can’t keep up with it. See, weekending with a Four Wheel tends to create minimal soiling issues with the fabric walls, and cleanup is easy using only a rag, water, and perhaps a very mild cleaning agent. A quick once-over does the trick.

In the case of a Four Wheel camper, a lower shroud on the roof closes over the structure below in the same way that a lid sleeves over a box. Thing is, such a large structure is not going to be able to fit the box tightly, or you’d have trouble seating the roof all the way down. The Four Wheel has a gasket along the front edges, but this provides a fit that can only discourage dirt from getting up into the folded polyester fabric. It can’t truly seal and prevent it. Result: protracted travel on dusty dirt roads is going to soil the fabric, and vibration from such roads will tend to grind the dirt into folds of the fabric that contact each other. Most of the soiling my camper shows is from dust collected during travel on such roads. This is unmistakable when you begin a day’s travel with a relatively clean top, and raise it at the end of a day to find it remarkably filthy.

If cleaned on a regular basis, such soiling does not present much of a problem. It’s quite quick and easy to remove with either water, or water and a mild bleach-free dish detergent. Detergent should be avoided if it isn’t required. If you’re on the road for months on end as I am, things get more Read more…

Another Trailer Goes Rogue

Odd photo above, isn’t it? I don’t know what it is about the entrance ramp to I-8 that the RV park edges up to, but trailers seem to misbehave when they’re pulled up to speed on it. Wellton is bordered on the north by ag land, and this gizmo, whatever it is, apparently unhitched and, liberated from the pickup truck pulling it, decided to try crashing the guard rail and diving down into the park. It didn’t make it. I would have expected it to turn over, but it didn’t, which is a very good thing for the owner. It was part of a two-vehicle convoy. I’m hoping that the owner was driving the pickup, so that no employee incurs his displeasure! Assuming that it’s relatively undamaged, recovering it shouldn’t be too tough. Unfortunately, fixing the guard rail won’t be free. FYI, there’s a barbed wire fence and cinder block wall at the bottom of this slope.

Quotes to Consider

“It’s strange how the things we want most in the world often end up being disappointing. Maybe that’s because we’ll never be very fulfilled by accomplishments. At best, the buzz lasts a couple days. What seems to matter most is how we spend our days every day. The work we dedicate ourselves to. The people we spend time with. It reminds us of an Annie Dillard quote: ‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.’ The good news is we get to decide.”
~ AJ Hochhalter, composer

“To me, retirement means doing nothing that is worthy of a salary, but doing so with greater purpose and import – precisely because money does not enter into it.”
~ Me

 

And of course:

Driving a truck camper suddenly makes the above a non-issue. Whew!

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again!

The Bridge of the USS Defiant as it was in 2013. It’s pretty much the same now, except for a thick layer of paperwork needing to be scanned or otherwise dealt with.

I’ve got this big-screen iMac, circa 2009, and it’s proven wonderful both for critically editing and cleaning up film photographs to make art prints, and also simply to be able to work on one document while another reference source is on the screen right beside it. Its screen sharpness is fabulous, which makes me wonder why Apple later upgraded it to just barely beyond the visual limits of human eye resolution. Apart from being a marketing brag, what’s the practical use for all that extra cost? No matter. I was pleased to be able to concentrate on my workload rather than have to frequently troubleshoot why my computer suddenly couldn’t find my printer.

Regardless, the iMac has been a real workhorse right up until Apple emailed me in 2013 that too many of the special Seagate hard disk drives (HDD) they use were failing, and would I please take my iMac to one of their authorized service centers for an HDD replacement at no charge. I found this notable because they knew I was several months out of warranty and Read more…

Of Faucets, E-bikes & Food

I kinda feel sorry for the few people who have recently subscribed to this blog. Instead of photos and videos of me gimping up rough 4×4 trails and camping in scenic spots, worrying in my own sheltered, suburban way about damaging the Mighty Furd or scrambling the contents of the Four Wheel Grandby, they (and you) get a few months of wintering in Yuma in a TT, and whining about how long my to-do list is. Don’t worry, spring will come. Until then, though…

The Legend of the Self-Healing Roof

Last summer took its toll in the Defiant, my 1994 TT parked near Yuma, Arizona. I had the rear roof vent cover replaced, since a Monsoon Season storm blew the cover right off. I had to hold the stepladder for the guy who got up there to do it for me, since he could have had a Bad Day while transitioning from the ladder to the roof and back. He had guts, I’ll say that for him. I replaced the cover gasket myself later, since he wasn’t stocking one in his van. That doesn’t require more than standing on an extension ladder and leaning way over. That might take care of the slow water leak when high winds come from the rear of the trailer during the occasional rain.

This is an old photo of the Defiant, taken before I added the Intrepid to the Mighty Furd’s bed.

What’s unusual is that the one-piece aluminum sheet covering the roof Read more…

Ups and Downs

Yup, my mousepad needs a good scrub, but I smile every time I look at it!

I made it to Wellton yesterday, where my travel trailer is parked! The summer bake was not kind to the Defiant, among other things. After unloading all the junk clogging its main aisle and setting it on the concrete patio, I found that the overhead living room lights no longer work, and a change of bulbs had no effect, so that will probably come down to trying to locate a similar fixture, assuming that its rather cheesy slide switch is deceased. More significant is that an apparent windstorm from the east ratcheted the forward roof vent fully open, but I was able to crank it closed again without difficulty. The rearward roof vent over the bathroom, however, was not so fortunate. That one, being just a couple of years old, opened and then Read more…

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