Sunday, September 10, 2017

Finally - New spot now open...time to get busy!

Well it has been a couple months now and finally got the old junk trailer jacked up and put the tires and wheels on and arranged to have it towed out of here...my new spot needs some serious clean-up before I move.

The dead tree on the left side will get cut down and moved out of there on Monday, then I need to level out the site and remove some old plastic ground cover and junk...then bring in a load of gravel for under my trailer.

Then I will get my trailer moved in and start fixing up the patio and shed.



Finally Leaving!


The mess left behind!




Time to start soon on Cap's Oasis!



Need to do some serious measuring and make a plan!



By the way, the roses are starting to bloom...



Stay tuned - lots going on as I wait for my winter friends...

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Busy Summer and getting ready for Winter Crowd

The park is pretty slow right now - of course all the snowbirds are gone and even most of the year round people have headed off to cooler temperatures. We get three or four nightly's almost everyday, the base is busy so we have quite a few contractors and Marines and families, almost all the cottages are rented so that keeps us busy.

Had a group of local kids try and sneak into the pool about 12 of them, raising a ruckus, so we had to throw them out, the pool and facilities are for residents and guests only. They had a ball and were jumping around in the deep end and sadly did some damage to the drain covers. The day before we had just had the County inspector for the pool and all the food and drink coolers checked and we got a perfect rating, they tested the water and cooler temps, hot tub temp and did a water check, so we were pretty happy.

The same day we sent the kids packin, another pool inspector came by about half an hour after we got rid of the kids and lo and behold the inspector discovered the broken pool drain covers and red flagged the pool. We called our pool service and he came out and tried to fix the covers but they were cracked and the bolts were broken off in the pool bottom, so he needed to drill out the broken screws and tap the holes for the new covers. For some unknown reason he refused to use an electric drill in the pool???

So that evening we drained the pool - huge expense and a ton of water.

Pool Draining at night.


The next morning first thing we replaced all three drain covers and really cleaned the pool bottom...


We called the inspectors and they came right out and allowed us to open the pool as soon as we had water back in it, which took most of 2 days...

So things have been busy at the park...now on to my plan, spent some time down at my new site and took some pictures and started planning for some modifications...can't wait to have some shade and wind protection and a nice comfortable patio.

This is the site - the old trailer on the right is prepped to move out!


Storage shed - Man Cave...what you see!



Cap's Oasis - what I see...



Hope to get that old trailer out of here this month - then start to clean up the area and get my trailer moved then get started on fixing up the patio and shed - should be a fun transition. Get the electric squared away and a small A/C unit installed, floor, wall paneling, new door, bar window, kill the weeds, patio furniture, potted plants, get the Camp Chef Grill in place...who knows maybe a big screen TV, recliner inside and a kegerator!

Cap's Oasis will be born and grow during the winter!


Stay tuned - once the trailer is moved will sell the truck and find a nice smaller SUV to be mobile again, but for this year the adventure is building my Oasis!

Forgot we are still having some amazing sunsets!




Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The New Plan

Sometimes things just happen to make you change your lifestyle!


This has been an interesting year, for sure...most of you know that my truck is dying a slow miserable death and it has created a situation that required me to re-think my future and what I wanted to do...quite frankly I have been getting tired of hauling my house around behind me and the stress of towing the trailer all over the mountain west. Additionally the cost at 8 MPG is getting to be a burden.

So now, needing a new truck capable of towing the trailer is almost out of the realm of possibility. So it is time to rethink my life's plan and move forward.

I am very fortunate to be in the RV Park I am in and have great owners who are very happy with the work I have done for them for the last 4 winters. So with that in mind and realizing I am at least stuck here for this summer, while I either find another truck or devise a new plan. The more I thought about it, the decision to create a new plan was the way to go...

The Park owners have been very accommodating here and happy to have me stay and anxious to add some additional duties for the summer to allow me to stay here at virtually no cost to me, and even make a few extra bucks, which is nice. We met and have come to terms for my future. I will continue with my winter duties and we have added some additional projects which will keep me busy and help them year round, or nearly year round, I have told them 10 months. They have honored my request to move the trailer to another site which is between two permanent units which will give me some needed shade and it also has a nice storage shed which I can fix up. The trailer will be parked permanent so no need for a big ass truck to haul it around. I am going to look for a smaller SUV or Jeep to do my running around and traveling, better gas mileage and more comfortable than the big truck.

There is currently a park model trailer in the site which has been stripped and will be hauled away within a few weeks, once that is done, I will clean up the site and move mine over there, then work on getting rid of the truck and find a smaller vehicle. The smaller less expensive to drive vehicle will allow me to travel locally to some spots I want to visit, may head down to AZ and see Sherry Hathaway Lewis and maybe even Greg Lantz...plus Salton Sea, Borego Springs and several other areas within a day or twos drive...Hope to find something with real 4 wheel drive so I can visit some out of the way places and just camp and take pictures.

I can still go North and South - have a bedroom or two in Salt Lake and one in Kalispell for some shorter stays.

Just may make a long trip for two months back to Ohio and our Class Reunion...hitting some nice scenic spots along the way...Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore!

29 Palms base 2018 Long trip

I really like the Jeep Liberty...


A Wrangler may be nice...


In the meantime, I will continue to chase the Milky Way!


Stay tuned for more details as I move and refurbish my new site, have some great plans to make it more comfortable for near year round living...then the new vehicle search! If anyone has a nice smaller 4 wheel drive SUV they want to get rid of let me know.

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Time for lemonade...

This past month or so has been a royal pain in my ass...not that I don't like 29 Palms, I do, but the plan for the past 5 years has been winters only and adventure and travel during the summer - love Montana and Utah.

However, after a solid 6 years on the road dragging my house behind me, the current circumstances have made me think about change, more on that later...the truck still runs but no power to tow the trailer any distance for sure, so need to adjust.

Most of you know I packed everything up a month ago and have been reluctant to unpack and settle in again, hoping I won the lottery and all my problems would be solved...well today the grill came back out and time for more stuffed peppers, good burgers, brats and an occasional ribeye.

May as well it is the 4th of July, National grilling day.



Love using the griddle on the Camp Chef, time for some great breakfasts.


Love Fireworks...



A composite over the Mountains...


The Future???

After 6 years on the road, dragging my house behind me, it may be time for a change. This winter after moving in to the new trailer which is more comfortable and almost home like by comparison, I have thoughts of slowing down on the travel and get even more comfortable.

I am fortunate to have found this RV Park and the wonderful people here, I enjoy my work here and the town is not bad although I hate California...there may be an opportunity to have the best of both my worlds, stationary and travel and photography.

The owners of the park will be here this weekend and would like to talk to me about year round or should I say near year round...still may be able to leave for a month or so from time to time on some adventures, and then return to my more stationary home. I am not going to get into details right now, but there may be an opportunity for me to move to another site which had a park model in it with a storage shed, nice patio and some shade. Now that the swamp cooler is installed and keeping the trailer very comfortable even in this extreme heat, the climate is much more tolerable.

To properly tow this trailer I need a 3/4 ton truck with preferably a diesel engine and they ain't cheap and I really cannot afford a new car payment. However, I could find a nice small SUV and maybe a small tow behind for some shorter adventures and be more comfortable when just tooling around town and saving some money on gas and travel expenses..if I had a smaller vehicle there are a ton of short drive adventures within an easy days drive from right here... 

We shall see what the future holds - stay tuned!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hot and now cool! Happy Camper!

So, with the truck problems looks like I will be spending most if not all of the summer here at the RV Park in 29 Palms, which means a hot summer...

The last three days over 115 each day and my A/C in the trailer was barely keeping up - usually 96 to 98 late afternoon inside...needed a desert mainstay a Swamp Cooler...made for this environment.

They are kinda big and bulky and a little ugly, so was not high on my list until the heat arrived. Found the majority of one in the dumpster...motor and case, but missing the water pump, spray spider, water tubing, cooling pads and a few other misc. parts and pieces...trip to the hardware solved most of that, dug out 20 pounds of sand and dirt from the bottom of the unit and cleaned it good, painted any rust spots inside. Evening before last, put it mostly together and made the final plan for the install.The big advantage is on the electric bill - much cheaper to operate over A/C.

Removed the back window in the trailer and last night we hung the cooler and finished the install, blowing quiet and nice and cool...this morning at 6:30 it was 103 outside and 66 inside, chilly.

Window Out


Cooler hung and remaining window opening covered and soon to be sealed!


Inside, kind of obtrusive, needs a good scrubbing today!


THE NICE PART!



This afternoon - need to caulk a few spots and tighten up some small water leaks...will paint the board white!

This should help me survive and figure out what my next move is...spend the rest of the summer finding a good deal on a truck or buy a small good gas mileage car and make this my home?? So much to think about...

This is not a bad place to be stuck for the summer...


Stay tuned - not giving up traveling yet,


Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Disappointing Day - Time to roll with the punches....




At least I can enjoy the sunsets here!

Yesterday I drove the 27 miles each way to Yucca Valley Wal-Mart and picked up the two new tires I ordered...the truck started missing and bucking and loss of power...like I need another issue.

Returned from Wal-Mart and in the evening cool, put on the two new tires, today I needed to take a test run and if good to go then head on down the road, if not put the trailer back in the proper location on my spot. Well, drove about 12 miles down the road and the truck has issues, barely get up to 50 MPH with the trailer on it...so turned around and just got back in my spot and all unhitched and everything hooked back up....looks like Montana is out of the question for the time being and time to either find out what is wrong with the truck or find another truck...

Of course it is a Saturday and my local mechanic is closed so will head there Monday after pulling all the codes and doing some research.

Plenty to do here around the park, so it may be a hot summer in the desert for me...time to spend a late night in Joshua Tree NP and find the milky way...saw it here in the RV park but too much ambient light to shoot it.

If anyone has a 3/4 ton Diesel Truck cheap let me know...

Stay tuned all is well, just a minor set back...life on the road!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Blog Update - Sunsets and Repairs

Well the RV Park is pretty empty now of my Snowbird Friends - most have left for home or various adventures traveling in their RV's.

There are still a few of us here and continue to have fun and visit, time for me to get the new RV ready to travel.

Every afternoon - I get a couple PBR's and relax outside and watch the nightly's pull in - we have quite a few travel throughs this time of year and of course Spring Breakers since the National Park Campgrounds are full, we get the overflow. So in that respect the park is staying fairly busy.

I watch for the Sunsets!


One problem I had to fix before traveling was the onboard water pump - this trailer has been hooked to the city water here in the park for nearly 10 years so not sure why the pump failed, but it did and also the onboard tank needed sanitizing before I travel. So it was replace the pump day a few days ago.

Old pump removed!


New pump installed and hooked up!


Water running out of the onboard tank with the new pump!


May have put too much bleach in the tank - running pump to empty and flush - little suds from the bleach!


I have now refilled and emptied the tank several times and the bleach foam and taste is nearly gone...couple more times should do it!

Wanted to mount the TV in the bedroom so decided the easiest was was on the fold down shelf!



My final date for departure is not set - still snowing up Montana way and cold, so will more than likely hang out here into May.

I have to get two new tires for the trailer before leaving so that is my next project!

Stay Tuned!


Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Barberton - A Rant - What the hell happened??

I have been pondering this update for a long time, since I spent last summer around my old home town, needless to say I was disappointed. Oh not in my many, many friends who went out of their way to see me and allow me to share some time with them...it was sad to see the terrible shape of such a wonderful town, a town that made me!

Maybe it was the point in time but it was a much simpler life in the 50's and 60's and Barberton was the picture perfect place to grow up...low crime, everyone knew everyone, plenty of jobs. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Little League, High School Football games every Friday Night. You could leave your house early in the morning on your bike and as long as you returned by dinner time all was well. Wonder how many miles I put on my bike?

Yesterday evening, I read in the hometown paper about another drug overdose! Call it my trigger warning for finally finishing this rant. Summit County has had over 2000 drug overdoses in the past 12 months...many of those in Barberton and the immediate surrounding areas. I have been thinking about this and reluctant to write it, since I know it will piss a bunch of people off, but I can no longer be silent! As I worked this winter to help the BHS Class of 1968 raise funds to purchase a park bench for Lake Anna, my thoughts were maybe we should be buying Narcan!

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?



Well, we happened...we wanted things to be better for our kids, Spock made us stop spanking, the EPA enacted serious environmental restrictions, the Unions demanded higher wages, NAFTA sent jobs South of the border, OSHA passed restrictive laws to protect us and manufacturing left!

1976 PPG Closed the mines, so many restrictions on Nuclear and Fossil Power Generation that B&W all but shut down, which in turn closed many, many machine shops. The Rubber Industry in Akron and Barberton moved their operations off shore or out of town due to high wages and Union Contracts. There was no longer a need for Vocational Education in our School system so the focus was on sending EVERYONE to college, which does not work, some people are just meant for manufacturing jobs...now we have a generation of Millenials who were never spanked or taught respect and lack the work ethic that made the "Baby Boomer" generation so successful. Now they have no jobs to go to except service jobs like Subway, McDonalds and Lawn Service jobs, their frustration has lead to finding a happier place with Opiates and Fentanyl!

WE CREATED THIS MESS!


All of us old Hippies wanted a Happy Place with fewer rules and restrictions and instead we allowed the Government to become a much larger part of our society and create rules to protect us from ourselves and the end result has created a Government that is out of control and certainly now ineffective.

Has some of it been good, sure it has the Cuyahoga River has not caught on fire since 1969 and we have reduced pollution levels by over 60%, OSHA has made what few manufacturing plants safer with less industrial accidents but higher workplace violence? WTF?

The most recent election was a sign of the frustration a large portion of our society feels. The damn Democrats AND Damn Republicans refuse to work together and only continue to line their pockets with our money. We the people are trying to take our government back and get it under control. In order for things to change we all need to demand that our legislators both Democrats and Republicans work together to make things better. Together they can fix healthcare, end the super restrictive EPA (without sacrificing the environment), create a workable immigration policy and reduce the budget to a manageable amount. We have the technology or ability to create the technology to solve all our energy problems, reduce waste in government spending and put America back as the leading manufacturing country in the world, close our borders to illegal drugs and put our kids back to work with meaningful jobs which will in turn eliminate the drug problem in this country. We also need to enact TERM LIMITS!

WE PUT A FRIGGIN MAN ON THE MOON - We can do anything we want, just need to get that attitude back!



The drug problems and decay in my little town are a problem that can be resolved, but it will take all of our involvement to get some manufacturing jobs back in the area! Jobs create money and opportunity and happiness which will overcome the drugs.

I am glad I grew up in Barberton, and it will always be home! We weren't rich financially, but we had all we needed and were afforded the opportunity to have fun, ride our bikes, fish in Portage Lakes, go to TAC, Friday Night Football Games, Tonyo's Pizza, The Varsity Drive Inn, eat Barberton Chicken and most importantly make lifelong friends.

My Dad was a wise man, worked at B&W for 42 years and when I graduated he said, "Son, if you don't do anything in life, get the hell out of Barberton Ohio, because it is a dying town", and that was in 1968! I left and have never looked back, made mistakes, had a great life and now have a pot to piss in and in a happy place.

Now I will post a couple pretty pictures because that is what I do now!



Barberton - Part of America, lest we forget!



Stay tuned for my next rant or update, depending on my mood. Have another month here in the desert before heading North to Montana with a little luck!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Blog Update - The Desert In Bloom

I have been coming to Joshua Tree now for four years and have been anticipating a desert bloom...well with the drought here in California that has not happened...well it has this year. We have had a cold winter with a bunch of rain and the flowers that lay dormant for years and years are now up and blooming...can't wait for the next few weeks!

I have been remiss in posting on my blog and going out and taking pictures for me - have spent most of the winter doing stuff for the park, which is fun...but now as the park winds down and I am here pretty much alone, I will be in the National Park covering the bloom!


This is the "greenest" I have seen the park!


More pics from today!



The yucca and Joshua Trees are a day or so away from popping!




The hillsides are about to come alive with color!


The cactus are just starting to bloom!



Of course there are always the wonderful sunsets in the park - I love this shot!


End of the month so I dug in the freezer and discovered some boneless chicken thighs and dug out the fry daddy!


They were GREAT!


Stay tuned I promise to get in the National Park more often and take my camera!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!