Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

Gang Aft Agley

In 1785, Robert Burns penned To A Mouse, which includes the lines, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!

I’m apparently just about to hit the “gang aft agley” part, since a prolonged heat wave expected to last at least through the third week of July will make camping a distinctly unpleasant experience, and it gets markedly worse the farther west I go. Please, no cheese with my whine, thanks. We’re talking triple digits here, folks.

Currently at a rest stop near the western edge of Wisconsin near Sparta, I just found all this out while Read more…

And Today’s Forecast…

Schnay!

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…

The Weather Reminder

Yesterday was both neat and wearing. Driving southwest down route 35 across Kansas just happened to take place while a cold weather front was moving in. A 25+ MPH wind shifted from south to north-northwest and all points in between during the course of the day before it finally weakened over the last couple of hours in New Mexico. But that still left plenty of nudging the steering wheel while cutting across the Oklahoma Panhandle and Texas. Calculated mileage spent much of its time at 9.0 MPG in the direct headwind, while only in New Mexico did the day’s average limp up to 10.5, all while holding a steady 65 MPH. I didn’t really need the onboard calculator to tell me I’d need to keep an eye on the fuel gauge, since the turbo boost gauge was into hill-climbing readings just to hold speed on the flats. It was a reminder to me that for all our technology, we’re still very much subject to forces much greater than our own.

The part of Kansas I was in was dormant farmland, and tumbleweeds were flopping across Read more…

A Secret Blog Post!

More Constitution

This is just for those of you who don’t subscribe to this blog and instead just come by now and then to see what’s new. The latest post is actually here, but you don’t see it on the top of the home page because this blog software posts in order of entry start date, not published date. Begin an entry a year ago, and that’s where it is in the final stack. I forgot that, so click on the link above if you want to check out the latest.

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…

Happy Thanksgiving

IMG_0720

My granddaughter.

While so many people do their best to make the world a more difficult place to live in, it helps to step back every now and then to remind ourselves what life is really about, and to appreciate that our place in it matters, whether we sense that or not. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” We are not left helpless as we look around ourselves. Live in your own little piece of the world as it needs to become, not as a contributor to the one that is.

Correction, and a Few Tidbits

A really blue Bluejay with a tall black crest? The critters here are all pretty casual around humans.

A really blue Bluejay with a tall black crest? The critters here are all pretty casual around humans.

The correction is that the sole RV Park in Tusayan may restrict dump station water usage to 10 gallons of potable freshwater – and that’s to camp residents. My advice is, if you’re going to boondock in the Tusayan area, use your pass to enter the Grand Canyon National Park and head for Mather Campground for their free dump station. Their coin-op laundry has a money changer and what looked to be 20 machines at $1.75 a pop. There are coin-op showers at $2 for 8 minutes, and the boon here is that they are inside the heated laundry building – a significant benefit at the moment. Temps will be in the 50s for the next few days and nightly lows in the 20s. In fact, two nights from now, the low is forecast to be 23 degrees, which combined with a 20 MPH wind should make things interesting.

I’ve been fortunate in that actual temps outside the Defiant have been 4-8 degrees warmer than forecast each night so far. I suspect that the time spent below freezing won’t phase the trailer’s plumbing, especially since I’ll need to keep the propane heater percolating all night in order to keep my breathing air above my tolerance of 45. Outside though, the freshwater fill hose in the truck bed does tend to freeze up and clog quickly in near-freezing air. I don’t expect to need to fill the camper’s tank before this cold wave passes, but I don’t want the expanding water to damage anything, either. That would put the Tankmin out of service. The forecast for tonight is 30 (which is safe), so as a test, I’ve thrown the camper’s remote thermometer sender on top of the hose under the tonneau, so I’ll be able to compare true outside temp with that near the hose. If it looks like 23 may be a threat, I’ll have to disconnect the hose at the Tankmin and empty it. I’d like to avoid that if possible, since that involves unloading much of the truck bed to get the needed access. The exposed waste pipes and valves under the RV are a concern too, but I’m hoping the the large diameter piping will slow down freezing and discourage expansion.

This wide load coming into the Park required a couple of highway patrol cars to block intersections and keep the roadway clear.

This wide load coming into the Park required a couple of highway patrol cars to block intersections and keep the roadway clear.

On the good side of things, I found two very helpful apps for my iPhone, and I assume that they are also available for the Android platform. One is

Read more…

And a Third Surprise

Not the best part of the show, but it does reveal the surrounding vehicles.

Not the best part of the show, but it does reveal the surrounding vehicles.

Returning back to camp at the Sandwich Fairgrounds showed many big trash barrels peppered throughout the camping area, which made me wonder. Then long before sunset, while I was watching a movie after dinner, a few cars and trucks rolled in and parked in the camping field. A little face eventually appeared close outside my screen door – some little guy fascinated by the side view of the glowing TV screen inside the unlit trailer, looked like. Then his momma called him back. More vehicles came, until the big field was decently full. By that time, I’d cleverly discerned that, incredibly, more fireworks were on tap.

Not unexpectedly, many folks in the field brought their own fireworks big and small, so the pre-show entertainment was constant. One family across from my site lit off firecrackers and such on the gravel path that my pickup was parked near, so I had to Read more…

RV U.S.S. Enterprise to be Rechristened

The Enterprise being fitted with new, shorter 4'-8' telescopic poles prior to the ceremony.

The Enterprise being fitted with new, shorter 4′-8′ telescopic poles prior to the ceremony.

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 – The RV U.S.S. Enterprise NCC 1701, also commonly referred to as the U.S.S. Enterprise, is today having its official name retired. The ship will be rechristened the RV U.S.S. Defiant NX-74205, to be commonly called the RV U.S.S. Defiant. No ceremony is planned other than an evening rechristening which is to include a crew’s supper of “sea varmints” accompanied by red wine, and the traditional custom of breaking a wine bottle on the ship’s hull. Due to Section 3 of the Prime Directive regarding alcoholic beverages, that bottle will be Read more…

Hittin’ the Skids

View from the rear: one bolt removed, and the other stripped and locked in place.

View from the rear: one bolt removed, and the other stripped and locked in place.

The skids on the rear of the trailer have been a problem. In use, they have shifted up on the “V” of the angle iron they’re mounted to, allowing the tip of the iron strap to contact the ground directly. That’s tough on the strap, and will soon result in an unusable skid. The cause is that the wheel assemblies were mounted on the rearmost angle of the strap, causing them to shift back and up, out of the way. Given a spindly 3/8″ bolt with a locknut, the bolts bent easily from the side load applied to them.

One bolt was removable, while the other rusted in place and snapped off when torque was applied.

One bolt was removable, while the other rusted in place and snapped off when torque was applied.

A fix was needed. Either that, or use the grinder to take the entire contraption off completely and let the bumper take a beating. As far as a fix was concerned, it was made more difficult in that the pair of bolts on each bracket were badly bent from the sideways force applied to them. Bolts aren’t made for that. With the help of a high-speed grinder, Kroil penetrating oil and Vise-Grips, the bolts were removed. I decided that maybe less bolt-bending would occur if I Read more…

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