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Too long in the saddle?

Out and about

Out and about

Y’all know I am set to get by alone more so than most.  6 weeks since the last time I made a supply run and when I emptied one of the 40lb propane tanks on the snout of the NO Princess Palace a week or so ago, I knew it was time to go to town.  I called up my fill-in girl and a date was made for Friday.  Like so many things here in the oil patch, plans change.  She is uncertain of her schedule right now so we cannot even set a second date.  I am going to let it rock on for a week or so to see of she can accommodate before I try to schedule someone else.  I am particular about who I let in here unsupervised with all my stuff.  I just am.

Missing a supply run is not that big a deal.  I can always order canned goods from Amazon Prime Pantry.  I fished the last loaf of Mrs. Baird’s bread out of the chest freezer, boiled a couple of eggs and opened up a mondo largo can of albacore tuna.  Tuna sandwiches on toast -with dill pickles- sounds just fine to me.  Vela Von digs it too. Winner winner chicken dinner!  6 eggs left and nada bacon so I can just about feel the teeth of a hydra upon me.  I am sure I will get out of here to the HEB soon enough.

La Crosse BC-1000 charger transferrin' electrons to some AA batteries

La Crosse BC-1000 charger transferrin’ electrons to some AA batteries

One of the things that used to bedevil me no end was batteries.  I was always forgetting how many things I had that ran on batteries until that somethin’ give out and I tossed the RV upside-down hunting fresh batteries.   The seriousness of such was pointed up just this AM when I pushed the ON button on my camera and nothing.  Lucky for me I have stocked up on Eneloop Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries and a La Crosse Technology BC-1000 Alpha Battery Charger.  Typically, I swap out batteries until I get a good pile of dead ones and then have battery recharge day.  While I was at it this morning I replaced the 2 AA batteries in my Fenix LD22 flashlight. I am near as bad a whore about flashlights as I am knives and I bet I got a hunnert flashlights. I find I reach for my  Fenix LD22 more often than not.  I even velcro’d it to the front end of a small caliber bowling ball when I had a night critter problem on my hands; worked damn dandy.

 

 

Fenix LD22 and a quarter

Fenix LD22 and a quarter

You know, I have to walk that statement back a little bit.  I use the LD22 plenty but I also carry an itty-baby Fenix E05 on the keychain in my pocket.  When you get old, a little illumination often improves the sight picture. And then there is the ThruNite LED Headlamp I wear night walkin’ with Vela Von. Last thing I want to do is run up on a big buzztail soaking up that last bit of heat out of the ground. I would scream like a little girl most likely should that ever happen. Snakes are way worser in the dark; don’t ask me why.

Glacier Tek Coolvest

Glacier Tek Coolvest

This is my least favorite time in Texas right about now. I call it the Summer Sauna.  Certainly, the temps have not been 100+ for days like they will be in July and August but the Sauna hurts me worse I do believe.  What we got now is temps well into the 90’s with humidity percentile in the 70+ range and it just makes it downright miserable outside. You can add 12-15 degrees heat index to the ambient temps on days like these.   A caring reader sent me something to help out with the heat. It is a Glacier Tek Coolvest and it is ummmm,  pretty cool!  It is a vest with 4 cooling packs that will recharge in ice water or your freezer in as little as 20 minutes. I had two concerns when I first saw it –  One, that it was pretty heavy at 5lbs weight and the other was that it would freeze the part it was next to and the rest of me would be sweating rivers.  Both concerns were non-starters.  The weight of the vest is negligible one it is adjusted correctly because the weight is born by your shoulders. There is something about the cool packs that is way different from like a block of ice against you. It is cool but your skin is not cold.  Good stuff!  Matter of fact, Vela Von and me extended our morning walk today by another half mile just because I was feelin’ so froggy-cool! Gracias Doble L!

Dog modified dinette

Dog modified dinette

Life with an aggressive, energetic puppy like Vela Von is not all sweet puppy kisses.  I went to take a shower the other evening and when I got out, she was sitting up on the dinette looking all innocent and shit.  When I walked closer, I discovered she had chewed the edge molding off the dinette during her down time.  WTF dog?  Puppies will be puppies I guess.  I am going to dissuade her of the habit and then just swap the top of the dinette end for end and maybe nobody will notice.  It is a POS dinette anyway;  I have seen teeter totters with better stability.

I have several plans and schemes in the works; some of which are fairly nefarious.  When I try to look to the future, I realize some things are just best taken care of now while it is still fairly easy to do so.  At least one of the schemes has been hatching for a good year or more and I just kept procrastinating about pulling the trigger.  That one is in progress and I will write about it more once it nears fruition. As soon as it is done,  more items will come toward the top of the list.  It seems the To Do list never gets shorter!  At least one of the items occupying my time of late is of the left field variety.  Never saw it coming, not even a bit.

 

End Note:  What’s Going On? by Marvin Gaye from the What’s Going On? cd (1971). Smooth, in the groove Motown from some troubled times back in the day……

“This week marks the 45th anniversary since the release of Whats Goin On a song which evolved out of an idea by Four Tops member Obie Benson whose group turned down the song as they didn’t want a protest song, Obie then handed it to Marvin Gaye, who then wrote the lyrics,and added some spice to the melody, making it his own song by absorbing himself into it, to the extent that when you heard the song you could feel the hurt and pain of the image Marvin projected  within the song.”

 

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Trapper Cabin

Spring in the puckerbrush

Spring in the puckerbrush

Been talkin’ to somebody about the ins and outs of gate guarding south of the Burrito Border and when the subject of suitable RVs came up I said “think about a trapper’s cabin on wheels.”  Ya think maybe I been watchin’ too many Alaska reality shows on NatGeo?  Y’all know I am a fool  for that DISH TV and a hunnert movie channels. But you know when I look around the NO Princess Palace,  it sure reminds me of that.  I am not saying you can’t come down here in your RV-mahal diesel motor coach and not get by but then again, why would you?  I think the real answer lies somewhere between the decrepit  FEMA trailer that would have been better left in that GOV camp in Louisiana and a half mil $$ Prevost.  Gate guarding is evolving and the increasing use of 12 hr shift guard shacks  might make that Prevost more suitable.  Parking in an RV park and commuting to your shift somewhere down a remote caliche rock road does make more sense than driving your RV down that same same road.

When it comes right down to it you have to survive the environment first and then worry about being front and center when a truck hits the gate.  For instance…..  I often recommend 2 rooftop ACs if you are planning on enduring a summer in South Texas.  The Palace has one 15k btu rooftop recently replaced and a window shaker in the bedroom – it ain’t enough.   I haven’t slept in the bedroom since August since I can’t drag my dead ass up to get to the gate if I do but the little 5k btu AC does help. The first step to cooled air is removing the moisture in the air and the little unit contributes to that.  So if you are runnin’ all the BTUs you can muster and you still sweat, what is left?

Infrastop radiant barrier on my picture window

Infrastop radiant barrier on my picture window

If your RV is broadside to the evening sun like The Palace is, the answer is pretty obvious when you feel that afternoon heat radiating off the windows and walls. You have to block it out and the best way of doing that is a radiant barrier.  I swear by the InfraStop Double Bubble Reflective Foil Insulation. It falls in the same category as EternaBond white tapeDon’t leave home without it. I did – leaving a good roll of Infrastop behind at the Secret Hideout.  I paid the dumbass penalty and ordered up another roll from Amazon.  Covering the big window, the kitchen window over the sink,the window on the door and the skylights has reduced inside temps by 5-7 degrees. For those of you who have the luxury of sleeping in the bedroom of your RV, it does a good job on all the windows in there by blocking out most of the light in addition to the heat.  It does look like a cave inside The Palace now but I prefer cool over a scenic view.

Another pearl of gate guarding wisdom discussed was the ability to be reasonably handy and have enough goods on hand to effect simple repairs.  You can’t pull off the gate to go get an AC replaced and if you are like me,  a Mobil RV repair fella is just too damned expensive.  They wanted $400 to come out and remove and replace my rooftop unit.  I took that saved money and added it to the bowling ball fund.

Busted up light

Busted up light

Someway, some how, I cracked the glass shade on the dinette light.  I figgered I could google fu me another shade pretty easy but that ain’t happening. As a matter of fact, finding any RV ceiling fixture besides the generic two light  plastic is just plain troublesome.  I finally found one I liked on Amazon and it was LED to boot so I ordered it up quick.

Maybe too quick–  When it came in I discovered it did not have an on/off switch and it was just my oversight which resulted in the misstep. (Here is the same one, with the switch.)  Not having a switch was not going to work and returning it wasn’t an option either.

I removed the switch from the old fixture and drilled and wired it in to the new fixture. Good thing I had the tools to rig that up, huh?   I really like the new light. It does not collect dead gnats like the old one. It is brighter while running cooler and  more energy efficient. I dig it.

New light at work

New light at work

Just another thought about that trapper cabin motif……  I am running solo down here in the puckerbrush if you don’t count the pup and blog reader and good friend Vince commented the other week:

“Andy, I’m thinking you need another sage hen to help you out around there. Don’t need to know how  to cook, just know how to drive and not wander too far off the shopping list. hehehehe oh, and doesn’t like beer or whiskey. BWAAHAAHAA. Gotta be a looker though. Enough ugly running in the brush.”

You reckon Vince likes pokin’ at me?  Uh huh, I been studyin’ on Vince’s comment and determined the Trapper Cabin thing probably wouldn’t fly too good with “another sage hen”  because the first thing ya know they are nestin’ up.  Little shelves with knickknacks and geegaws on them, frilly ruffles around the bottom of the bed and bar soap in the bathroom you can’t use unless you are company.   I would have the devil of a time livin’ like that.   Just sayin’………..

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How can a pup sleep like that?

How can a pup sleep like that?

Dogs is funny. Vela Von is 7 months old now and just about the time I think I got her green broke she up and does something like leaping effortlessly and nipping me hard on my shoulder.  I am 5’11”.  WTF is up with that, hound?  A pup is still a pup I reckon and they tell me these dogs don’t reach maturity until they are about two years old.  Some basic cipherin’ tells me I still got a ways to go.  I go on about her but the fact is the good times far outweigh the moments when she thinks she lives in Crazy Town.  She has been sportin’ that e-collar for six weeks now and I do not know what I would do without it.  Working dogs have a huge amount of drive or they would not be worth a damn. Purists divide it up into prey drive and food drive and I don’t no what else drive but me;  I just know she has a buttload of energy that has to be focused and harnessed or she will just be a plain ol’ wild dog. The e-collar forces her to focus, sometimes she don’t like it worth a damn and she will let me know.  I have never had a dog that will fuss back at you if they are pissed.  This one does it plenty.

Dammit, Outside NOW fatman!

Dammit, Outside NOW fatman!

My intention when I decided I wanted a GSD was to train an edgy one.  I did not want one that peed in the floor when it thundered or run the other way when a sounder of wild hog crossed the road in front of them.  All I got to say is be careful what you wish for.  Vela Von is all teeth and muscle and eats twiced what I think is necessary.  If I get slack and inattentive on the leash, she has almost pulled me over when she runs out to the limit.  You dang sure don’t lollygag around these dogs!  The only thing that seems to bother her in the least is when we are walking full on into a stiff breeze.  I guess those ears act like wind scoops or something but I can tell you if she had her druthers we would be travelin’ downwind at all times.

Back when I was grievin’ over the loss of Tuco the Dog I knew I had to find another one to fill that void in my heart. It wasn’t optional.  Vela Von is filling the void handily – in ways I never imagined.  Trust me, that is a good thing.  A very good thing.

 

End Note: Big City Blues by Charlie Robison from the Good Times cd. Bonus because it was recorded live at Floore’s Country Store.

“My daddy was a no count, bull riding sonofabitch; that’s what my momma said.” Heh

 

 

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Fresh Air

The old roof vent/fan GONE!

An OEM RV vent fan nastied up with some puckerbrush dirt and dead bees.

I have been here at this location north of Fowlerton, Texas for 196 days straight. My last trip to town for supplies was 38 days ago.  I have one package of bacon left. Something must give soon. Bacon withdrawal is ugly and I would not wish it on any man.

A Puckerbrush Barometer –  I am 30 yds from a much traveled oil patch highway.  Thankfully, there is an automatic gate which is only opened with the correct keypad combo between me and the sneakers and salesmen. 

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The Matinee Lady

Carol Wayne

The HD antenna in the back beamin’ toward San Antone

It wasn’t too far back that I added an HD OTA antenna to the NO Princess Palace. Since my technological progress stalled out back around 2002 when my brain could no longer absorb new information ,  it took awhile for me to figure out all I knew about an HD antenna.  When I hook that antenna into the back of my DISH receiver and then scan the local channels through the receiver it conveniently places those locals on my DISH program guide.  Increase the cool factor by 25 when I

Continue reading The Matinee Lady

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