Friday, January 27, 2017

Good Bye Old Friend

Yesterday was time to say goodbye to my old trailer - SOLD! It was somewhat emotional for sure almost 5 years to the day from when I picked it up in Tacoma, Washington it has been my home.

Estimated 35,000 miles of Adventure and fun, 28 States including Alaska and 3 Canadian Provinces, 20 National Parks and numerous campgrounds and RV Parks...

Some Memories!

On my way to Alaska!


Snowed in TOK Alaska!


My Travel Map for the past 5 years!


A few stickers from places I visited!


A very nice young couple from Mexico bought the trailer and will be living in it on a lot they bought to build their home on near Salton City overlooking the Salton Sea.

Where I left my friend!


Now to say hello to the future, my new home!


Stay tuned as I look forward to many more adventures!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Blog Update - Christmas 2016 and a recipe

I have been keeping pretty busy getting things settled in the new RV - love it so far and only found a couple things that need repair. I have to order a few things to get several things fixed - parts are on the way.

The filter holder on the ceiling A/C is broken - new part ordered.
The smoke detector is broken - will get one at Wal-mart!
One door latch is broken - will get at Home Depot.
Yesterday I discovered the sink was leaking into the silverware drawer - tightened up the drain and all is well, had to wash all the silverware and let the drawer dry out, but all fixed!

Christmas Eve I decided a big dinner was in order so stuffed some peppers and foiled up an onion with butter and seasoning and seasoned a nice big steak - fired the Camp Chef up just as it started to rain (UGH), thankfully it only sprinkled for a little while.

Nice Steak!


Stuffed Jalapeno's


Ready to eat!


Had a wonderful dinner...everyone keeps asking for my recipe for my famous Dressing.

Here is goes...
I buy one bag or box each of Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Stuffing and Herb Stuffing - two boxes total
Two tubes of Bob Evans Ground Sausage
Sliced mushrooms - usually one package
Three or four celery stalks - chopped
Two onions chopped
1 full stick of real butter
I full container of chicken broth - I use the lo salt version!

I saute the sausage and onions, mushrooms and celery in a large skillet with the stick of butter!


After the above is cooked to completion - I scrub the sink real good, put in the stopper and dump in the two packages of dressing cubes. Then I dump in the contents of the skillet and mix with a large wooden spoon. I add the chicken broth until it is a nice moist consistency.

Scoop it all out of the sink and put in a large casserole dish and bake at 350 for about 1.5 hours or so, you can also heat on high in your crock pot for an hour then on low for about 3 hours. Load the casserole or crock pot loosely do not pack down. If making in the crock pot you can use less liquid or remove the lid for the last hour or so.


Needless to say it comes out great and always gets rave reviews...

Stay tuned for more fun in the New Year!



Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

New Home - Slowly but Surely getting settled

I am slowly getting things put away and settled in my new home. Still plenty to do, but I keep moving forward and very happy with my new home.

Got most of the couch cleared off and still a few things to find a place for. I will have to spend the rest of the winter getting some storage totes and small containers to separate things and make things more ready to travel. Looks like a few trips to Dollar Store and Wal-Mart for some storage ideas.

I actually have several "Walls" to hang some pictures. Had one from Wendy Johnson that I have been carrying around for the past 5 years or so and one of my Dad.

Pictures hung - still a few more to go today!


One more laundry basket full to stow today then the couch will be clear!


An Alaska Memory - Coffee maker and Boodles comfortable on the back counter!


My indoor/outdoor Thermometer hung with care - note recorded low 32 degrees!


Nice having a real furnace and thermostat!


Interesting story - yesterday I pulled up the settee cushions in the Old RV and removed a few things stored there, I had two plastic totes with dividers which held nuts, bolts screws and some other hardware which I had been dragging around for the past 7 years or so. The bathroom door in the new trailer had a bent striker plate and would not latch all the time...lo and behold - there were three new ones in the storage totes...so that got repaired yesterday.

Still enjoying the wonderful Desert Sunsets!


Stay Tuned still lots of winter fun in the desert!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Great Long time Friends and a new Housewarming!

Talk about perfect timing - Marcia Gaynor Diefendorff and Hubby Keith and Sherry Hathaway Lewis and Hubby Jim came to visit me at the RV Park in Twentynine Palms.

I spent most of Saturday and Sunday transferring all my stuff from the old RV to the new one...with the plan to change the flat tire on the new one on Monday morning before everyone arrived. As it worked out, had the spare off the back of the trailer and after searching for a bottle jack and a lug wrench to fit, I got the new trailer jacked up enough to remove the flat and just as I dug out my socket set and started removing the lug nuts - Marcia and Keith pulled in across the way...Keith and Marcia jumped right in and Keith helped me finish changing the tire, then we moved the new RV to the road, unhitched, hitched up to the old RV and moved it to where the new one had been, then hitched back up to the new one and moved it to my permanent site #150. Got it leveled and in the correct position and unhitched...

Then I had to go up and sort the mail (My job daily)...while doing that Sherry and Jim arrived a checked into their cottage...much conversation while I moved a few things around and made a couple small repairs. Then we headed off to the local watering hole for some burgers and beers...old memories discussed at length...a few classmates probably had burning ears...great fun.

Then back to the cottage for some cake and ice cream which Marcia and Keith were kind enough to bring for a housewarming gift...Sherry and Jim also brought a nice gift some cold PBR Tall boys!

Tuesday morning back up and a nice long breakfast out before everyone headed on their way, sadly short visits, but I sure appreciated the old friends visiting.

The Cake!


Sherry even brought a Barberton Herald...


Sherry's Jim was kind enough to take a pic of the group hug!


Some pics of the move from the past several days!



New fridge will be perfect!


Old shower - Now where do a I put all this crap?


I haven't even touched the two totes on the back of the old Trailer!


The back tire was the flat one!


New trailer has some bigger compartments so will need some storage totes to keep things from moving around - looks like some extended trips to Dollar store and Walley World over the rest of the winter to get everything in its place.

Thanks Marcia, Keith and Sherry and Jim for making the effort to stop by - sure was appreciated and fun!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

New Home - almost cleaned!

I have spend the last four days cleaning and emptying my new RV. Today was dumpster day - had a bunch of stuff that I did not want left over from the previous owner - some things were given away and some things went to the thrift store in town and some went to Catholic Charities...today the balance went to the dumpster!

All the cabinets are empty and only need wiped out and rubber shelf liner put in, that will be done over the next couple days. Still trying to get the hydraulic pump working for the slide and electric to the front landing legs. They both work fine manually and may do that to get it moved next to my site, so I can begin the task of emptying mine and moving in....should do that next week.

HERE IT IS!


Stuff that went to the dumpster today!



GONE!






Bigger Fridge and Kitchen!


Finally a real Bed!


Even had my first visitor - glad Wiley E Coyote didn't show up!


Moving day is rapidly approaching and will update again during that, I am looking forward to the extra space and comfort!

Stay Tuned for more details!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Potential New Home

I have been looking for a little larger RV now for the past couple years...this may not be the most opportune time, however sometimes you just have to keep moving forward. Still have some truck issues to deal with, but have all winter and the opportunity for a larger unit at a very reasonable price with some sweat equity in a major clean-up for a unit that looks great on the outside and no damage on the inside other than a good cleaning is hard to turn down.

One of our long term winter guests from Canada is having some health issues and will not be returning, so he asked to have the trailer cleaned out and sold.

My little trailer has served me well and I will be sad to see it go, however, the crawl up bed is becoming more and more of an issue and I need a regular walk-around to make my life more comfortable as I get older. I am hoping this will be my last RV and serve me until the end of my traveling.

My little trailer is listed as an 18.5 foot but measures about 20 feet, this one is listed as a 25 foot and has a slide out which expands the inside significantly. I am looking forward to the additional space although I fear getting lost!!

Here is a picture of the actual RV!


Still some mess to clean-up!




This is a picture I found online from the same model, showing the entire living area!



I hope to get confirmation of acceptance of my offer today or tomorrow, with plans to move it next to mine in the next week or so and start the task of getting everything moved over and my small one cleaned up and ready to sell!

At least it will have a full sized bed with room to walk around! Obviously needs stripped down and cleaned up!


Stay tuned for details as I move in! More pics when it is all cleaned up!


Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Trip West 2700 miles of Bad Road and Friends!




OK - Let's just say it was a memorable trip!

The trip took exactly 21 days total - start to finish including a couple breaks, two by choice and two not by choice!

I departed Hartville, Ohio on October 15th with plans for one stop on my way to Great Smokey Mountain National Park to visit friends and camp for 3 nights. Almost immediately upon departure the truck developed a slight miss when under load with the trailer - like going up hills. I planned to drive further but when I stopped for gas on the West Virginia Turnpike I realized I had no running lights, had brake lights and turn signals but no running lights, not feeling like fixing or researching in the dark I spent the evening in the truck stop. Had two days to get there so not an issue.

The next morning I left early and drove all day to arrive at my reserved campsite next to Sherry and Bill LeVines in the Elkmont Campground in Great Smokey Mountain NP - It was beautiful and there was Bill and Sherry as I arrived, wondering what took so long!

A few beers a great campfire and dinner already prepared was waiting for me, who could ask for more! Sherry directed me to my back in site and we settled in to catch up on old times and relax. Which I was more than happy to indulge in!

Sherry and Bills Wonderful little A Frame Camper!




Sherry and Bill!


The rest of the Family!


Dinner was waiting!


My secluded site across the road from Sherry and Bill!


After a wonderful evening the next day we took a drive looking for some fall colors! I found some!



I forgot to mention I had a tooth ache...UGH!

I did manage to dig out the camp chef and fire up some appetizers for our last dinner!


We had a wonderful time catching up on old times and enjoying each others company, need to do it more often! The next morning I departed and headed West with hopes of getting just past Nashville on my way to Memphis to see another old friend. On I-40 just East of Nashville near an exit to Mount Juliet the traffic came to a screeching halt - I was stopped for close to 30 minutes - now worried about darkness and no running lights, I eased off the exit and pulled into a Cracker Barrel for dinner and hopes for room to park for the night and meet up with my friend the next day near Memphis! Tooth still hurt and truck still with a slight miss. Had a nice dinner at Cracker Barrel and they said no problem parking for the night, I was well away from the restaurant in the back of the lot.

NOW COMES THE INTERESTING PART and DIVINE INTERVENTION!

The next morning after posting my location on Facebook I get a message from the friend I was to meet in Memphis and he calls me and says, I have been having tests done at Vanderbilt Medical Center and I am not in Memphis I am near Nashville and my daughters home...here is the address of the hotel I am staying at come here instead. So I agree and sit down at the computer to put in the address to my trip planner and it says you will arrive in 2 minutes! LOL! He was in the hotel directly behind the Cracker Barrel! So I text a smart ass remark for him to look out his window I am already here!! He walks over and we make plans to have dinner and find an RV Park for me to stay for a while!

We visited 5 different parks in and around Nashville only to find them either full for the weekend or closed for the season! We looked back two exits and finally found one with space after the weekend, made reservations and paid for a week and went back to Cracker Barrel to ask if I can stay - they are most cooperative and say no problem!

The next day Roy Groover who I was visiting informed me that he had made a dentist appointment for me for Friday! However after the dentist and I discussed he wanted me on antibiotics for a couple days, so another appointment for Monday. I moved to the campground on Sunday the 23rd of October with reservations to leave on the 28th! Monday morning I had two teeth pulled and recuperated then spent the week getting a few other tasks resolved like visiting a mechanic shop to investigate the truck issue. Roy and I had a wonderful time catching up everyday and enjoying a few cocktails and dinner each night! I pulled out with the truck running much better and a little behind schedule so planned to get West with a vengeance! Still had a long drive through some pretty boring areas and wanted to make up some time through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico! This took me three days of driving with the truck running pretty good, although still have the slight miss.

Now the tragedy!

As I pulled into a campground in Gallup, New Mexico I felt a slight rumble as I pulled into my site, thought more wires were loose on the truck, so decided to spend an extra day and check oil, tighten wires and fix the plug on the trailer so I had running lights!

So I stayed Monday the 31st of October and Tuesday the 1st of November in Gallup with plans to drive from there to either Kingman, AZ or if all felt well with running lights make the run right on into 29 Palms.

Well that didn't happen!

After leaving Gallup and driving at 64MPH with the truck running pretty good, I stopped at a rest area and as I pulled out I felt that rumble again. Only in 2nd and 3rd gear - once in 4th it seemed to smooth out. Drove a total of 157 miles then felt a huge bump and crash and the truck slowed down and I eased off the road - thankfully a nice wide paved berm and was able to get completely off the road! Get out to investigate and realize the drive shaft is gone - same problem I had last year in Tulsa. SHIT!

Check the GPS and realized I was 40 miles or so out of Flagstaff and made the decision to call a tow truck and head back to an Aamco and see about arguing about the repair! Waited about an hour and a half for the tow truck and walked back about 200 yards and found the drive shaft. Tow truck driver real nice guy and towed me into Flagstaff and the Aamco shop. Dropped the trailer in front of the shop and ran an extension cord for me to hook to electric - they were about to close, so I hooked up the sat dish and got the last game of the World Series on and settled in for the evening.

Next morning the boss was there, the truck went on the lift and he started looking for parts...which ended up being quite an undertaking. Seems Ford no longer manufactures the parts considered obsolete and no junk yards had what we needed so found a place in Phoenix that could make the complete drive line...got that ordered on Thursday the 3rd of November and I settled in for another night. The driveshaft arrived up on Friday and we realized one part was wrong so made arrangements to get that replaced and be back up here early Saturday morning.


New Drive Shaft!


Missing part!


Nice shiny new drive shaft!



Truck was finished by 9 am on Saturday - test drove and double checked - only thing we can figure is when it was last repaired they did NOT replace the cutlass bearing and it failed which caused the catostrophic failure of the drive line! Well it is all new - the Aamco in Flagstaff was fantastic charged me no labor, parts only which was bad enough, but they kept me on the lift and at the top of the list to complete - They were great!

the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful - made good time and arrived at 29 Palms in time for Saturday night dinner and a few beers with my winter friends.

HAPPY TO BE HERE!


All settled in!


Plenty of room for more winter guests!


Grill is ready for a nice steak tonight - propane refilled - ran out in Flagstaff which made cooking impossible so snacked. Just for the record - I kept track - I said "Step on the gas you dumb bastard" 453 times as people got on the highway and would not speed up when I could not pull over! I burned 280 gallons of gas at an average of $2.12 per gallon or about $600.00 and that averages out to 9.6282 MPG, even with the miss!

More people arriving daily - good friends and neighbors Ed and Shirley arrived yesterday...

All is well, Life is Good!


Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!