Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “The Defiant”

Staying “Home”

Front yard o' the day.

Front yard o’ the day.

This post is simply about going no further than a quarter mile from camp, and taking a zillion snaps of my campsite. Ugh, sounds horribly boring, doesn’t it? See, I intended to go out for a walk day before yesterday, got out there a ways, and then noticed some rain heading my way. Couldn’t be sure of the timing though, because here above Green River, Wyoming, you can clearly see stuff that might be twenty or more miles away. So, I walked this way and that about the camp in order to Read more…

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Revenge of Evelo Exploration

Sunset, and the full moon is riz.

Sunset, and the full moon is riz.

This is just a post about a 24-hour period, a nice sunset and view into the valley, followed by rampaging vermin at 2 in the morning. Ahhh, nature! A hastily-deployed trap got him sometime later, since the worst thing that can happen is for the critter to return home and tell his buddies about the bonanza. If that happens, it’s party time.

I reviewed the Defiant’s Vermin Defense System after breakfast, and determined that since the high frequency repellers were Read more…

A Miss and a Hit

You know, if I had a fishing license...

You know, if I had a Wyoming fishing license…

The trip to Green River, Wyoming was uneventful save for the beginning and the end of the 245-mile jaunt. The dirt trail going into Vedauwoo is bad washboard, as I’ve whined about before. My camping spot was just short of a couple of miles past the paved entrance. On the way in, I’d taken it at a crawl, the F-250s stiff springs making it jerk about, while the Defiant bounced up and down on the pronounced ridges with a sort of whaka-whaka rhythm. I noticed a hard-side truck camper idle in the following day, bouncing and rocking something fierce, too.

Since that time, the many passing vehicles appeared to be taking it at about 20-30 MPH, and although the ones with various kinds of trailers made a horrendous noise, that seemed to be the style of the locale. So, running solo later on a couple of errands to Laramie, I tried it. The trick was to get up to speed as quickly as possible in order to minimize the rather alarming judder. Not that bad! It was also not bad in that it chopped the trail time from a half-hour to a few minutes. All I had to do on hitting the pavement was to shove the GPS’ power plug back in. On the way back, slowing down to take the turn into my camp was unique, in that slowing on the washboard steered the back end right as the rear tires, inflated to their towing pressure of 75 PSI, made only occasional contact with the ridges. That aided my left turn, but the resulting door shake was disconcerting.

in the right type of RV, this place would be quite a treat.

in the right type of RV, this place would be quite a treat.

When departing for what promised to be a 5-hour drive – four hours to get to Green River, and maybe another hour to take Wyoming 530 and then nine miles of 012, marked as the “Lost Dog” Use Area – I decided to man-up and pull the Defiant over the washboard at speed. What the heck, why not try it? To crawl out again would just take too long, and the manly approach usually Read more…

Setting a New Course, Mateys!

Camped near the Bonneville Salt Flats to watch some land speed record attempts. They were there for a week, I stayed for about 2 and a half months, to see other events too.

Camped near the Bonneville Salt Flats to watch some land speed record attempts. They were there for a week, I stayed for about two and a half months, to see other events too. This was last year, and this is what the Defiant does best.

When it comes to RVs, or living mobile, I think one of the reasons that I harp so insistently on figuring out what you want to be doing in what kinds of places ahead of time is because that level of self-awareness is not all that easy when the span of those activities or kinds of places begin to go Jekyll/Hyde on you. RV rigs each come with inherent things that they do well, and things that they don’t. Thanks to the Internet, such limitations can be perceived ahead of time – mostly, anyway. My time to mull things over and reflect was very limited, as was my camping experience. But, I knew I’d rather be living out there than renting a room someplace. It’s kinda like life, I suppose. You do the best you can with what you’ve got, and start doing course corrections when you find that it’s necessary. Having gotten some full-timing experience under my belt since 2012, it appears to be that time now.

As a vehicle to actually live in, with no home or secret rented storage space(s) somewhere to keep overflow in, the travel trailer USS Defiant did and still does work very well. At 26 feet, it just plain works wherever it is, in any weather short of temperature extremes or very high winds. It is a home which can be moved from place to place, which is what I had envisioned. I enjoy getting out to quiet, solitary areas, but have no particular interest in having to battle flies and bees while I’m attempting to cook every meal, having my meal choices depend on what the weather is like, huddling bored inside a cold, dark box or tarp to escape bad weather, moving because of biting gnats, or cleansing my digestive system behind a bush, day or night. “Camping” or “outdoor living” is refreshing for me – for a day or two.

As a permanent lifestyle, that’s not for me. I’m just not an outdoorsy person. I like going outside when it’s nice, just to be outside for awhile. Go see things, feel the sun’s warmth on a cool day, bike around, walk around. I like staying inside when it’s not nice, or when I’ve had enough of the sun, wind, cold or heat, or when I have something to get done. When push comes to shove, Read more…

Itch de la Hitch

Low sun look toward the Kishwaukee River.

A low sun look toward the Kishwaukee River.

With my scheduled departure approaching late next week, I find myself with a natural mix of dread and anticipation. Dread of the necessity of shoveling out the Defiant’s interior to make it ready for travel, swapping wheels to get the new tire mounted in place and to put the spare back on its perch, and hefting those big panels. What can I say? I’m lazy, and all that’s too close to being actual work.

Yet, there’s the anticipation of getting out to the big sky and solitude. A lifetime of points East and their own wonders makes me pine for less familiar terrain. True, the West is technically a place of relative desolation, but the connotation of a bleak and barren wasteland doesn’t cut it for me. It has its own rewards which cannot be matched here. Each area has its appeal, and the West’s is Spectacle.

Here's something you don't see every day - except here.

Here’s something you don’t see every day – except here.

Mind you, the trip out there won’t have much entertainment value. I’ll be leaving at the start of the Labor Day weekend, a Duly Authorized Holiday Camper taking my allotted space just hours after I yank the Defiant out. All campgrounds from here to Seattle will be packed with them. So, it will be Interstate rest stops for me, all the way out to Wyoming. Rest stops are, on average, quieter and less closely packed than truck stops.

With a full two months before I will roll into Yuma, Arizona, four two-week stops are planned. That’s how the Defiant is oriented. Find access to a perfectly level or at least correctable spot, unhitch, break out and hang the solar panels, and put interior accouterments into a living arrangement. From there, it’s a matter of Read more…

More Adventure!

Hmmm, think some tire dressing would help?

Hmmm, think some tire dressing would help? Note the rubber marks on the body and the broken-off piece of fender.

Well, the inevitable happened. I was going to post about what I saw at the Overland expo next and ignore the return trip, but here you go. Travelling up I-25 north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, I stopped at a rest area to hit the potty and check the Defiant’s wheel bearing and tire temperatures. Everything was stellar. Not ten miles farther on, I felt some weirdly bumpy pavement and while I was wondering what the deal was, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw that the trailer was no longer level side to side. Glancing out the right side mirror, bits of tire debris were spewing out of the Read more…

Adventure!

Oops! Goofing with a jackstand on the soft ground of the forest allowed the trailer to twist off it, dropping the tongue to the ground.

Oops! Goofing with a jackstand on the soft ground of the forest allowed the trailer to twist off it, dropping the tongue to the ground.

Arriving at quaint Mormon Lake Village a couple of hours before sunset yielded NF-219, a track just south of town that quickly turned to ascend a low mountain. At the bottom though, it was muddy from recent rains, but the mud was not bad enough to be a show-stopper. I pulled into a treed area that seemed to allow a circle path through it, but then found that, unlike Darth Vader’s revelation, the circle was not complete. The rig wasn’t trapped, but the back-up would be an ugly affair, cranking the hitch at an angle it deeply resents.

Since the sloppy climb up the slope was hemmed in and rocky, I broke out the mighty Aurora e-bike from its carrier at the front of the equally-mighty Furd and made my way up to look for something usable. The sites I found were Read more…

When a Good Battery Goes Bad

These look like a party is going on in my battery tray.

These look like a party is going on in my battery tray. Notice the old black rechargeable looking up anxiously, and for good reason.

“Well, I’m disappointed in your performance, frankly. I have to say it. We’ve been together almost two and a half years now, and that isn’t a very long time for a deep-cycle battery. You attracted me with your flashy 210 amp-hours of  capacity, and the price was right at about $75 for each of you. Things went well for awhile, but I noticed that your output was fine for a year and then slowly started dropping off. Now, it’s gotten so that your voltage drops from 12.8 to 12.7 right away after charging, and then with very little load, drops to 12.6. Then when I wake up in the morning, often as not you’re at 12.4, and that just shouldn’t be! How is it that I’m going to be able to stay for more than one or two nights on the road, without you needing a recharge? Does that sound like 210 amp-hours to you?”

“And now these two little AGM deep-cycles, just 55 amp-hours apiece, come along and show just how much you’ve been slacking off. They’re half your rated capacity, and they’re outdoing you! And that’s not the worst of it! They’re older than you, and never had the Read more…

Solar Suds

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This is the 3rd day of heavy overcast out of a predicted 4-1/2, and that will be followed by another couple of partly cloudy days, so the Defiant’s solar systems are getting a workout. If you have not looked back at past posts, the Mighty Defiant has three independent solar systems, each dedicated to specific tasks. The (2) house batteries power ignition for the fridge, water heater, water pump, and lights, as well as the iPad that I’m typing this on and the iPhone4 that connects it to the cellular Internet. At night, the house batteries also power 3 ultrasonic speakers in an attempt to keep any wandering rodents out of the trailer. (So far, so good.) The (4) batteries in the office pack power the desktop computer and the mission-critical entertainment system that offers moving picture amusement each evening, and the vast majority of them are talkies! It also recharges the Evelo e-bike’s battery, which is no easy task. At times like this, I’m glad I got a spare for it so that I can still get around in the manner to which I am accustomed. Lastly, there is also a single battery and panel dedicated to running a CPAP device, which battery is now doing double duty to desulphate someone’s old AGM battery to bring it back to life.

This is a pretty decent test period for the house batteries and especially the office pack, which I sized to last for

Read more…

Standing Pat

An unnecessarily elaborate way to camp, but a wonderfully convenient and enjoyable way to live.

An unnecessarily elaborate way to camp, but a wonderfully convenient and enjoyable way to live.

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 Read more…

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