Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

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.

2017 In Review – Part 2

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The return trip to Arizona begins with pulling a Captain “Wrong Way” Peachfuzz and heading northeast, then southeast.

Shelby, Michigan

Shelby, Michigan

Read more…

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!

2017 in Review – Part 1

KOFA National Wildlife Refuge (Arizona)

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I thought I would present here a kind of photo summary of many of the places I visited this year. Not all are represented, especially this section on the commute toward Illinois, when truck stops and rest stops were the norm in order to minimize travel time. This year’s trip eastward was unusual in that I first stalled for time waiting for the Overland Expo West in Flagstaff. Apart from locations, no explanations are provided in the photos – I don’t want to rehash what I’ve already written. You may be able to get an explanation by entering the location in this site’s search box at the upper right, but the purpose of this photo presentation is sometimes “pretty pictures”, sometimes a simple reveal of what campsites were like, and now and then, memorable moments.

Please note that you can click on any one of these photos to see its detail in a larger format.

The photos in this post are not new to this blog, but in a way, they are. First, I’ve always left my photos Read more…

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…

Quiet Miracles

I suspect that it’s normal to compare current medical knowledge in relation to that of the past, and when that takes place, the new knowledge always seems to shine. I mean, we’re so much smarter now, aren’t we? Not like those stupid and superstitious fools who once practiced medical philosophy instead of medical science. Those are the inferences I detect whenever I hear the same old refrains. For example, it’s always popular to deride the medical practices of centuries ago by citing the practice of bleeding with leeches. That’s often used as a cudgel in arguments, even though bloodletting is still used today as a corrective measure for iron overload, a condition which most commonly results from a genetic mutation in people of Celtic, English, and Scandinavian descent. It has been proposed that the relatively high numbers of people with this mutation in those groups came about from the mutation being a helpful factor in surviving the plagues. On the downside, this genetic predisposition to iron overload also popularizes cardiomyopathy (heart failure and the like), arthritis, cirrhosis of the liver, and diabetes along with it. Whenever someone with iron overload came into play, the ancient practice of bloodletting suddenly validated the procedure, and it usually needed to be done on a regular basis. Unfortunately, since that benefit only applied to a mysterious subset of people, and a knowledge of why it helped was limited to preexisting philosophy and deductive reasoning based on observation, it appeared to simply validate bloodletting as worth a shot for anyone suffering from anything. The only problem was that they could only theorize about why it worked, and in whom.

Perhaps, as we get older and more exposed to modern medical practices and philosophies, it’s normal to begin to detect some cracks in the seamless veneer of modern Medical Science. I think we’re still in the medical Dark Ages, but I say that because Read more…

The Busy Bee Syndrome

In the same way that a 1960 Cadillac is a motorcar, this vintage Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite travel trailer brings a touch of magnificence to the concept of Wretched Excess. I’ll have to ask what length and year it is, but it looks like 33′ at perhaps 10,000 pounds loaded. Unlike the prestige nameplates of today, in its prime the quality of Holiday Rambler materials and construction was high, and upscale meant more than gewgaws posing as “amenities”. The brand has since been bought and sold a few times, and the current owner manufactures only motorhomes now.

It really has been an activity scramble here, more so than upon arrival “home” in past years. I’ve been reviewing what has and hasn’t worked out well on the road, then researching each area and addressing it in some fashion. That review ranges from rig hardware, devices and software, to myself. The Four Wheel pop-up truck camper itself was notable for its pronounced absence of issues and inconveniences. The solar system I added on worked, yet didn’t perform as hoped for. I’ll detail that once I physically fix the problem.

The Corsair Voyager Slider X1. Read speeds are okay, but God help you when you need to write data to it. And this is the replacement I received when the original scrambled and went unreadable two weeks in.

My laptop, used among other things to edit and store photos and videos, was positively glacial in how fast it could call up, process and transfer data files. That was my doing, because I’d been having to rely on using an external USB3 thumb drive as the hardest working drive, the internal drive being very fast but too small in capacity to hold all that’s needed. The USB drive proved fine for simple file transfers, but when thrashed hard while programs pulled and pushed data to “live” libraries, it suffered constipation (not to mention abdominal cramping and gas) from the get-go. Simply closing or quitting my photo editing program took minutes for it to button itself up, instead of seconds. Sorting through some halfway affordable solutions took quite some time, as did the “how-to” of replacing a main drive with no risk of losing anything. (Hint: always have a Plan B available for when Murphy’s Law kicks in.) Updating the operating system in a majorly way sometimes causes one or two third-party programs to 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…

The Evolution of Thanksgiving

Relevant dates in this holiday’s history.

As with most U.S. holidays, Thanksgiving slowly morphed into something that more accurately reflects our priorities and culture. In the year 1620, the Mayflower landed in a small bay just north of Cape Cod. Aboard were Pilgrims fleeing religious persecution in England. Well…they were, but we skipped a step in recounting events. In 1534, England broke ties with the Pope and the Catholic Church. The reasons were not so much religious as they were marital and political. King Henry VIII resented the Pope’s interference in his unusual string of serial monogamy. He instituted the Church of England, to which Protestant reformers flocked. They were later called Puritans, because they hoped to purify the new Church of traditions and practices which they considered to be unBiblical.

Here’s a newspaper’s account of Washington’s proclamation.

Well, progress in that effort was molasses slow, and eventually a small separatist group emerged from the Read more…

Pima Air & Space Museum

How’s this for obscure? This Columbia XJL-1 amphibious plane was developed and built from a Grumman design in 1946, then accepted for testing by the Navy in 1947. The 3rd of 3 built, it suffered repeated structural failures in 1948, and was dropped from the program in 1949. Two surviving examples were sold to a Martin Aircraft engineer for $450, and he worked at restoring them until his death in 1955. In 1957, his widow sold this one to a Chicago resident on the condition that he make the plane fly at least once, which he did later that same year.

If you like a goodly percentage of aircraft that you’re unlikely to see anywhere else, the Pima Air & Space museum is for you. It’s a private, non-profit museum in Tucson, Arizona. With 150 aircraft indoors and another 150 on the grounds spread out over 80 acres, this is an aircraft extravaganza not to be missed. They claim that you can see everything in 3-4 hours, but this is an optimized estimate based on fast-marching and tram-riding like there is no tomorrow. I suspect this timing assumes that the visitor take a stout dose of amphetamines, wear roller skates, and have an aversion to reading informational placards. If you want to stop and gawk or want to get up close, the additional minutes quickly add to the hour count.

This 1970 Pereira Osprey II amphibian was tested for use as a civil police observation plane in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. It successfully completed tests, but was dropped anyway. It became a home-built kit plane in 1975, with 200 sold. This one was wrecked in 1982 after an engine failure, then was rebuilt over the next 6 years. It can reach 130 MPH, which is not too shabby for an amphibious Short Takeoff and Landing craft (STOL).

There are 4 hangers, of which I toured one and listened to a volunteer docent do his thing on each craft. I got there about 9:15AM and gawked, then did the docent-guided tour at 10:30, which lasted until 11:20. That gave me just enough time to grab a reserved seat on the tram tour, which lasted almost an hour. By that time, I decided that Read more…

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