Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Daily Life”

One Confused Camper

The new campsite in the daytime. The “trail” is actually a camping loop.

I resupplied in Flagstaff yesterday, and on the return decided to check out the “dispersed camping corridors” in the Cononino National Forest, using the MVUM (Motor Vehicle Use Map). According to the map’s instructions and those on the Internet for that forest:

“When dispersed camping (or “car camping”) on the National Forest, refer to the designated camping corridors shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map. In these designated corridors, visitors may drive their vehicles up to 300 feet from the road to car camp. Also, visitors may park alongside any designated road’s edge and walk to their campsite anywhere on National Forest System lands, except where specifically prohibited as indicated in closure orders. When parking along a designated road, drivers must pull off the travelled portion of the roadway to permit the safe passage of traffic. These rules only affect motor vehicle use. Forest visitors can always hike to campsites at farther distances from the roads.”

Officially, these “corridors” seem to be the only permitted locations to camp, and doing otherwise Read more…

And Today’s Forecast…


The above is a shot taken at 8AM, temperature about 38 degrees. Welcome to Flagstaff in late May. It was a cold one last night, with the temperature 30 degrees at 10 PM. That’s right when the furnace ran out of propane, so I got shoes on and stepped outside to swap the Grandby’s twin 10# tanks. The 2″ of snow on the ground was a surprise, as was the 26-degree low for the night at 4 AM. I had the fabric-area window covers and extra-layer Arctic Pack buttoned up to slightly slow the cascade of cold air from the fabric. It worked pretty well, what with the furnace set to 58 and the batteries reasonably happy to power it for a lot of On Time.  (You can subtract about 10 degrees on the bed platform.) Today is forecast to reach a high of 60, and a low of 30. I’m at a little higher elevation than Flagstaff, so I might be a couple of degrees colder than that. Warmer air should be moving in tomorrow. That’s good, as a tank of propane that lasts me a couple of weeks at “normal” temperatures cuts down to 3-4 days in this kind of weather. Tomorrow is resupply day, just to avoid any chance of draining the “spare” tank before Monday noon.

Yesterday, I went on a stroll down a marked trail that’s not on any map I have. FS9123G. Since it’s not on my MVUM map, it’s not for motor travel. It was once, but is doing its best to Read more…

North of Flagstaff

Ahhh, trees, sky, and mountains.

Since I was too busy to post during the Overland Expo West (including nice naps to recover from all the walking around), I’ve been looking through the scores of photos I’ve taken in order to build a post. I’m writing this from a fine campsite about 15 miles north of Flagstaff, a Coconino Forest road called Schultz Pass Road (NF 545), on the opposite side of the highway from the entrance to Sunset Crater National Monument. Getting a cellular data signal in this area can be problematic, but after my cellular data modem came up completely blank, my iPhone was surprisingly happy to provide a working hotspot. Usually, the iPhone is the gimper while the modem is the producer. Go figure.

This is a true forest area, with the campsite itself at 7,490′ elevation. The “heat wave” is apparently over, the daytime temps for the rest of this week expected to be Read more…

Risk Management Rebooted

Here’s something to consider. I found the two videos below to be supremely interesting despite their titles. That’s because “Survival Planning” is a fooler for us Norte Amerikahnskis. The interviewee, Mac Mackenney, is not a survivalist in the hopeless gloom-and-doom apocalyptic zombie warfare sense that we gravitate toward. He is a genuine adventurer who makes it his business to manage risk in inordinately risky conditions. In that way, I found his approach, his simple way of recognizing risks, sorting through them, prioritizing them, and addressing them as helpful in an everyday sense for anyone who boondocks. Technically, anyone who hits the Interstate for a decent trip might benefit as well. There are three parts to this set from Andrew White, but I have included only the two most pertinent. Each is 25-30 minutes long, so if you have limited cellular data or an overactive bladder, this might be an issue. If you could hardly care less about simple ways of looking at risk and survival, but do enjoy rather impressive campfire stories, these are also for you.

I present these to you principally because first, they helped me recognize how what I choose to do and how I go about it affects my safety, and how simple changes can decrease exposure to risk. Second, because it is easy to go on assumptions and fail to recognize the inherent risks within our choices, it is easy (at least in the Great Southwest) to wind up in what are potentially very serious situations, without realizing it. I keep stumbling over accounts of everyday people caught by surprise and unprepared for what is around them. Sometimes they get aided or rescued, and sometimes they do not. The videos below are not a “how to” so much as a wake up call to recognize potential risks in your rig setup choices as well as how you camp, and prioritize them so that the most effective  and influential solutions come first. None of this is miracle-level brilliance – it simply clears away the chaff and helps you recognize your most important needs first. If you can only see one, the meat of it is in Part 2.

Part 2:

Brilliance Gone Bad

Notice the rust along the dark slats. This was in use for 9 months.

Notice the rust along the dark slats. This was in use for 9 months.

Last March, I departed Wellton, Arizona with what I hoped was a practical way to keep sharp kitchen knives protected, but handy. There are no reasonable (or safe) wall options for magnetic bars in the Four Wheel (unless you consider installation to the inside of a cabinet door safe), and no storage space for massive butcher block sheaths.

I decided to go with individual blade sheaths, partially in order to keep my options open for which knives to bring along on tour, and which to leave behind in the TT. In the hardware store I once worked at, they offered a knife-sharpening service, and card stock sleeves were used to safely store and handle the finished knives. Oh, that I had a half-dozen of those! There are all sorts of DIY sleeves on the Internet of course, based on Read more…

Where the Livin’ is a Little Easier

Garbage! The white bag is a tall kitchen bag full of papers that should have gone away long ago.

Garbage! The white bag is a tall kitchen bag full of papers that should have gone away long ago. “Someday” is today.

This post is just kind of an update to the prior one, just for those having a morbid sense of curiosity. That’s so you aren’t left with the situation appearing to be in limbo. Now that I have broadband DLS Internet and running hot and cold water, life is good.

The new blood pressure-lowering meds are a slight dampener on both energy levels and outlook, which requires more perseverance to bull through each day. As a result, cleanup has about a day more to go before I will be able to touch or lean against everything in the trailer without fear of wearing black or white clothing. It’s been a bit overwhelming, but the naps are good.

As for cleaning, I worked on my old-style IBM “clicky” keyboard, which was long overdue for a good scraping off. I was careful to rub each key with a cotton cloth dampened with Simple Green. The problem apparently came when I Read more…

Where the Livin’ is Easy

Sometimes, in this carefree vagabond’s life on the road, circumstances intrude upon the idyllic core which is assumed to be the inherent gift of mobile freedom. These circumstances can range from minor inconveniences to the harbingers of doom. Sometimes, that mobile freedom make those circumstances more difficult to address than they would otherwise be. That isn’t the case here, since the Defiant’s location could be considered as a seasonal residence of sorts. Just sayin’.

As for me, I‘ve discovered an ongoing stack of inconveniences which are frustrating, but looked at in the proper perspective, are also a bit humorous. It’s the combination. My main priority on arriving at my trailer a few days ago was of course to make it livable again after its many lonely months in Yuma’s hot and dusty summer. The time-consuming work of completing modifications to the new Four Wheel Grandby camper last Spring, before Yuma’s heat began to set in by late March, required hasty compromises in cleaning and organizing my trailer before leaving it. In short, I discovered either just how little Read more…

Certainly Uncertain

Sample image from

Sample image from

I’m glad to announce that I’m back, and I’m bad. Okay, I’m not bad. I’m harmless, actually.  Executive Summary: My plans to return to the Yuma, AZ area via Montana and Wyoming this year on a 4-month boondock camping extravaganza ran into a snag when my annual physical checkup threw a flag. A wad of follow-up tests quantified its degree of seriousness, and also spotted something else, the doomsday machine of the cardiac world. This has been mentioned in previous posts.

Though not an experience I’d care to repeat on a dare, the end results have been largely per plan. One oddity remains unresolved. I’m told that surgery screws up the electrical heartbeat signals about a third of the time, disrupting things. This normally recovers in a week or less. Mine became more notable for its day-to-day inconsistency – never having been great coming in through the doors. When the question was “will this system return to normal, or will a pacemaker be needed?” my heart monitor answered “blue rooster”. A crew of electrical Read more…

Old Iron

Barn Find!

Barn Find!

Okay, so it’s not a barn find, it’s a garage find. And it’s not virtually undiscovered, it’s part of the large collection of some guy with Old Car Collector’s Syndrome. I’m currently in Indianapolis, and it looks like I’ll be here in limbo for quite some time, so while I have a pleasant if unnerving wait, you’re stuck with posts like this, using iPhone photos. Next week’s post may be on the price of rusty razor blades in Kazakhstan. Anyway, he’s owned this car for 10 years, and it’s been in storage for a total of 15 years. More accurately, it simply hasn’t been run for 10, which is nowhere near as good as having been prepped for long-term storage. Whoever tries to fire up this thing now is probably going to have a bit of work to do.

The twin exhaust pipes are held in approximate place by baling wire.

The twin exhaust pipes are held in approximate place by baling wire.

This car is a 1968 Jaguar E-Type coupe, also called the XKE, retrofitted with Jag’s tri-carb on its 4.2-liter straight-six for power. It was called a 2+2 for it’s expanded seating arrangement, which has a rear seat with way too little legroom. Thus, they did not call them 4-passenger cars, which would have dampened the Read more…

A Busy Weekend

A tree, just like any other tree, only long-dead.

A tree, just like any other tree, only long-dead.

One thing that had conveniently skipped my mind is that although the Overland Expo is great, the following weekend may have a team roping competition to watch, but it also brings hordes of holiday campers to Mormon Lake.

The area where I was camped had some very, very big pines downed long ago, most falling in the same direction, as if a storm had blown them over long ago.

The area where I was camped had some very, very big pines downed long ago, most falling in the same direction, as if a storm had blown them over long ago.

The lower area where I was pretty much filled up, and a parade of fifth-wheel toyhaulers began making their way up the Read more…

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