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After all, It is just an RV

The Old Girl on a high ridge above Cranfills Gap, TX  ca 2007

The Old Girl on a high ridge above Cranfills Gap, TX ca. 2007

When I bought the Old Girl, what was it?  Almost 10 years ago?  there was no cognizance regarding a recreational vehicle as a central fixture of my Master Plan.  It was a whim.  I was fat.  Crossed my mind an RV would be a nice toy.  I bought one.  Every thing happens for a reason.  I knew that then.  I BELIEVE in it now.

Most folks are going to tell you an RV is a nice place to visit but they ain’t wanting to live there.  Rightly so.  A recreational vehicle is a foreign neighborhood,  it is frail, ungainly , apt to catch afire or get turned downside up in a bad wind.  Not much to recommend it really when you come right down to brass tacks.

Folks that full time in a recreational vehicle are a tough and willful bunch because you see those folks building RVs up in Indiana had no intention from the get go of some fool buying one to live in alla the time.  Hell fire, they even spell it out for those of us that ain’t all that bright.  Says right there in the warranty on most of ’em that this RV is not intended for full time use and that will blow your warranty right out the window if you even try that nonsense.  Now why would they say something as silly as all that?  Well sir,  I reckon it is because they build ’em ’bout as strong as one of those backyard sheds you can be getting at Home Depot.  Sometimes it crosses my mind that if I was to remove this one bolt or take a saw and just cut right there that this NO Princess Palace might just fold up like one of those pop-up picture books when you close the cover.  You ever seen a picture of an RV that was in a bad crash?  They fold up quicker than a Wal-Mart tent.  Yep, it is just about that tenuous.

Fresh water delivery.  I had to roll out 15 miles to the beer store and pump this tank full every 2 weeks.  ca 2009

Fresh water delivery. I had to roll out 15 miles to the beer store and pump this tank full every 2 weeks. ca. 2009

When it all boils down, mainly what you got is a cracker box on wheels with all sorts of exotic and strange systems to accomplish what is covered with no mind in a regular house.  In the normal world:  You flip a switch, lights.  You turn on the TV, 900 channels.  You fire up the computer, internet.  Getting a little stuffy in here Huckleberry? Go turn that box on the wall down a skoosh for cold air.  Flush the toilet, Adios! …..and so on and so forth.

Are you thinking right about now that I am settin’ the stage to pack it in and go live in a regular house somewhere?  Umm no, not so much.  Actually; not even!   I have been working out the details of my NOMAD concept for more than a few years now.  I have grown accustomed to no mortgage and no HOA all up in my business.  I have replaced and fixed enough of all the silly shit that makes an RV work to not be intimidated by the details.  My commute to make a daily dollar has been measured in feet for years now;  I like that- alot.  My house is on wheels and I am not afraid to use that feature.  I like the idea that the Postman don’t know exactly where I am, amongst other factors.

I have been at the Secret Hideout for 137 days now.  Think of it as my thesis to get my advanced degree in All Things Nomad.  No electricity.  Monthly trips to the Big Town for goods at best.  You take what you got and make do.  That is what it takes to graduate to the next level. The plan is still to head back to the Puckerbrush in about a week but the reason for leaving is not because the Secret Hideout Test has been a failure.  Far from it!  It has been an affirmation that all those hard places I have been in the last 6-8 years and all the tribulations weathered and behind me now have all been well worth it.  It has been a learning adventure and I am not quit with it yet – not by a long shot.  The last 4.5 months pointed out some flaws in my Nomad Thinking and exposed some equipment as lacking.  I have to go back down South Texas way to replenish the bank account and do some more prepping for the future.  Think back– I went 30 days easy peasy with just what I packed in here to start with  – nada mas.

The start of the Nomad Road  ca. 2010

The start of the Nomad Road ca. 2010

There are times I miss my buddies Dave and Fatboy Scott.  Today seems to be one of ’em.  You can be the grisliest hermit that ever eschewed polite society, country clubs and car pools and there are just those days when you want to reach out and touch a brother.  Dave was the Nomad of Note in my life and probably most assuredly deserves the credit for puttin’ me on this road.  It wasn’t so much that he taught me how to do specific stuff – he taught me how to wrap my brain around  this thing called Life that just twists you up in untenable knots if you let it.  Would that I could talk to him as I sail off into Phase II.   Fatboy Scott was always the life of the party whilst I cowered in the dark corner.  Even so,  he coveted my NOMAD ways and out and out irascibility.   He talked often about just chuckin’ it all and steppin’ off into the Abyss with a general “F*CK IT!!!” throwed over his shoulder for them that still had an eye on him as he lit out of Dodge. I think he woulda done it too.  But he died; just like Dave.

Ideas for blog entries come up in curious fashion and this is one of ’em.  I have been fighting this water leak on the Palace for well over the month now.   Firstly, I figured it was the roof and then maybe a tank and them maybe a pinched pipe and all the while I was just acussin’ RVs in general and everything that makes them a piss poor choice for livin’ in.  I was making up the bed in the snout of the Palace this week.  The way it is laid out,  my head on the pillow is right against the front wall.  I noticed a blister in the vinyl wall cover about the size of a quarter and then another one;  and a third.  I pricked the blister to satisfy my precocious nature.  I was thinkin’ it could be from this furnace heat on the wall making it bubble up or it could be somethin’ else entirely.

It run water.

Well now, you don’t get a water blister 3 foot up a wall from a water source below the blister.  Newton said it was against the Law and I believe this.  So just stands to reason my water leak is from above and chances are I have already took care of the problem.  I got an appointment with the top of the roof here  in a little bit just to make double sure.  In the meantime,  I have been dredging all the soaked insulation out from the underbelly and cipherin’ how best to fix up that little deal once it dries out.

Stay tuned.  I got some more livin’ to do yet.

 

End Note:  All I Have is Today by Robert Earl Keen from the Farm Fresh Onions cd.  Texas songster laureate. Nobody else comes close.

 

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Facing the Music

"For those who still believe what happens over there does not affect us over here...."

“For those who still believe what happens over there does not affect us over here….”

On Chattanooga………  Catastrophic happenings  of the world might be held out arm’s length until some event hits home and it becomes up close and personal in less than the single beat of your heart. Folks are just funny about that.

And so it went this week when I got an email from BFF Cait “Have you got the news on?”  Well, nope.  Haven’t even got the TV on or the cell turned on.  I am at the Hideout fer chrissakes.   So I fired up the DISH and the flat screen and tuned in some FOX news.  

I grew up more or less in East Tennessee; graduated from Oak Ridge High School in ’74 and then blew around the country for the next 15 years.  Somewhere toward the end of the ’80’s I ended up in Chattanooga with a wife and two young ‘uns in tow.  We would remain there until the Texas Immigration in 1995.

It was a homecoming of sorts……  the cute little Tennessee Blond AKA the Ex Who Goes to Eleven was raised up in the Seventh Day Adventist enclave at Collegedale which is just two ridges removed from Chattanooga Proper.  This week’s act of domestic terrorism rattled BFF Cait.  Even though she has been in uniform all over the world, even when she has seen the final chapter of terrorism; the wreckage of war manifest.  Looks like it was not truly personal until this week for her. “How could this happen in Chattanooga????”  she asked.

I don’t really remember when my innocence and sense of invincibility was taken.  Maybe it was during the 70’s when I was driving a big truck to New York City several times a month.  That mighta been it.  I learned PDQ there was folks about who could care less about my personal safety and could give a whit about my overall welfare.  Oh hell, it coulda been all the way back to the Cuban Missile Crisis in October ’62 when we had sand bags piled up around the windows and practiced hiding under our school desks just in case we saw a bright light like another sun in the sky.  Fact of the matter is there have always been bad men at large in this world.  There always will be.

We can cower in our basements overly fearful of the sword or we can fill our hands and step out to face the foes we dread most.

If not me, then who……”

**************

 

Work Sharp WSKTS knife sharpener

Work Sharp WSKTS knife sharpener

I guess it finally sank in this week that I will be returning to the Eagle Ford for another stint at gate guarding.  There are some other options available that are more traditional.  All of the Plan B opportunities require me to leave the NO Princess Palace and go somewhere else to perform the work.  Several drawbacks to this such as having to pay lot rent and utilities but the biggest one is leaving Tuco the Dog cooped up in the RV for 10-12hrs at a stretch.   She has done nothing to warrant that manner of  imprisonment so it looks like it will be gate guarding (again) for us. Plus the security work is rent free and pays better!  This July heat is becoming oppressive and I still do not have AC until after 2200 most evenings.  I honestly do not know if I could survive the oppressive heat of a Central Texas August without some sort of refrigerated retreat.

The jist of the TO DO list is puttin’ up, fixin’ up and packin’ up.   Many, many items I used to tote around from gate to gate are not makin’ the trip south for Fall 2015.

The Work Sharp WSKTS Knife and Tool Sharpener came out from under the bed where it lives and I sharpened every knife in the house. The Danby Chest Freezer is filling by the day and trips to the store now involve buying 3 instead of 1 of most items. The pantries are slowly stocking back up.  The Wahl Pet Clipper Kit got put to use and even though it was a dog trauma event for an hour or so, Tuco the Dog feels all the better for it.

Tuco the Dog - BEFORE

Tuco the Dog – BEFORE

Tuco the Dog -- AFTER

Tuco the Dog — AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I filled a 5 gallon bucket with dog hair.  Ain’t nobody fixin’ to tell me that dog don’t feel better with that hair gone.

Remember last week when I was so confident I had found the source of the water leak on the Palace?  Well,  I was dead wrong.  Still leakin’.   I decided this week it was time to see just how the cow eat the cabbage and find the source of the leak.   I started at the front of the trailer and cut a slice in the under fabric, moving toward the back of the trailer progressively.

Pinched water line

Pinched water line

I got all the way back about even with the middle of the entry door before I hit a dry hole. WTF?  How could that be?  I sliced a big hole right there and stuck my head and a flashlight up in there for a look see.  What I discovered was an 80 per center nightmare.  The Palace is typical RV construction.  A steel trailer frame, some two bys for floor joists and plywood sheeting atop that.  Somewhere along the way up in Yankeeland where they put the Place together some 80 per cent sumbitch pinched the hot water PEX line between the steel frame and a two by.  The fella that laid that two by down saw it, so did the yahoo that put the bats of insulation in,  so did the slacker that laid the plywood sheet down.   I figure 3 people minimum saw that pinched line and did nada to fix it.  Took me all of 20 seconds to correct it.  I got a fair sized pry bar and was able to separate that steel beam and two by enough to snake that PEX line outta there.

The leak is not one of those high pressure streaming leaks; I already knew that.  The water pump seldom comes on of its’ own accord.   It is a miniscule seapy type of leak at best but to get the amount of water I drained out, this musta been going on for months if not years!  With all that said,  I am still not convinced this is the source of my aggravating leak.  Water travels to the lowest point and it could be leaking somewhere else and running down that PEX line to the low point.  There was so much water under there I could not tell for certain.   Rather than cut the pinched section and splice it with a Sharkbite, I decided to run one more test.   I tore a soft t shirt rag into long strips and wrapped it around the PEX line above and below the pinch point.  If either of those wraps turn up wet after 24 hours, I will know the water is running down from elsewhere.  If they are both dry, I will know the PEX is leaking where it was pinched.    I’ll let ya know how this works out.

Every RVer I know bitches about their RV refrigerator when things start to heat up.  They just struggle way hard to keep things down around that 40 degree mark.  When I was on the gate with plenty of juice flowing out of a big diesel, I just put the perishables in the big Vissani residential fridge and relegated the Dometic RV fridge to cold drinks and such until the weather cooled.   Since I don’t have that option here at the Hideout, I hit upon a work around.   I keep 6-7 one liter Smartwater bottles around for drinking and just refill them from my potable water supply as needed.  I try to drink at least 4 liters of water each day.   I figured out if I freeze those bottles in the Danby and then put one frozen bottle in the bottom of the fridge and one in the freezer compartment, it keeps that little Dometic cranking along real nice.

It is about 99 degrees out there now with the heat index and the Dometic is sittin’ at 35.4 degrees as type this at 1PM on a Sunday.   I know it has become intolerable hot here in the Palace even with the fans runnin’ so it is time to wind this post up.  Me and Tuco the Dog are going to retreat to some shade and a breeze and try to last out the rest of this day.

 

End Note:  For What Its’ Worth  by Buffalo Springfield from the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary cd.

Stephen Stills and Neil Young from well back in the day…….

“There’s a man with a gun over there telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound?

Everybody look what’s going down”

 

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July Vignettes

Low cost solar array rack deployed.

At the Secret Hideout

122 days here at the Secret Hideout. 

Been to the real grocery store 3x for a total of about $325.   Much of that was restocking some hard goods that had become depleted and refilling the freezer with protein.   One of the alt-blogs I visit issued a challenge to its’ readers yesterday with the encouragement to post the experience to the comments section.  The challenge was to unplug from the grid and leave the car in the driveway for 48 hrs. Hmmmm, alrighty then.  Lets’ see how this train wreck unfolds for the masses.  I always espouse bein’

Continue reading July Vignettes


You Tell Me..............

(UNRELEASED) Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Public Affairs personnel in action June 30, 2012 at Dover Air Force Base, Del. (U.S. Air Force photo/Roland Balik)

Coming up on the July 4th holiday and besides being a traditional time to get out on the lake, drink beers and cook up something on the grill, it also happens to mean this; lest we forget:

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.

(UNRELEASED) Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Public Affairs personnel in action June 30, 2012 at Dover Air Force Base, Del. (U.S. Air Force photo/Roland Balik)

No secret to

Continue reading You Tell Me…………..

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