Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weekly Update - a day for conveniences!

I apologize for the delay in posting and updating, however, I have had some minor technical issues. When I upgraded my laptop and tried to install my design suite of software - Adobe Creative Suite CS3. Adobe quite abruptly notified me that I had reached my maximum limit of installs allowed....since the current version was now CS6, I missed the upgrades 4 and 5, due to a number of reasons, primarily financial, since the retail on the current CS6 version is $1,299.00!

Anyway, I was finally able to afford the upgrade and I am now operating on CS6 and it is great! Look for some updates on a few design projects I have been working on - the first is a magazine type publication called "Seasons in the Mist", which is a 48 page chronicle of my 6 years guiding at Yes Bay Lodge in SE Alaska! Has some great stories and photographs! I also just uploaded a calendar and when my proof copy gets here for both the calendar and the magazine links will be posted for those who would like a copy!

So without further ado, I will focus on yesterdays activities. Living in a very small confined space has it's own limitations and you quickly realize that everything has a place and must be kept there. I have had several items that I have needed to make my life easier and yesterday was the day to purchase a few small incidental items which will help me be more comfortable in my small space.

The first item was a window shade for my front door. This doesn't sound like a huge deal, but where I am currently staying the door faces east and I get the bright morning Arizona sun beaming in my door window. The window is frosted so I don't get to enjoy the view, but only have the harsh bright light to deal with. Which is nice in some ways for warmth and such, but when trying to get work done on the computer it is quite annoying. So I installed a nice window shade that cuts the light down perfectly! It was somewhat an engineering nightmare since I wanted to retain access to the door and the door has a screen door on the inside, so I mounted it above the door and need only to raise the blind when I go in and out.

Here is a pic. This isn't an item of convenience as much as making my workspace more comfortable.

Next - I use the plastic grocery bags as trash bags most of the time, with no real room for a "trash can". floor space is a premium, so a grocery bag hung up on a cabinet door knob above the dinette is the easiest. Well trying to store the supply of grocery bags was an issue, since getting the trailer I have been stuffing them in a cabinet where I store my pots and pans and some other supplies, it has worked fine, however, when I need something from that cabinet, I generally have to move a ton of bags out of my way to get what I need...a pain in the ass!

Yesterday at Wal-Mart I discovered an inexpensive solution. Made specifically for grocery bags. So $3.59 cents later it was in the cart and on the way home. I mounted it in an unused wall space next to the galley and it works perfectly.

Amazing how something so simple can remove so much clutter and make things easier!

Kitchen Knives - I love my kitchen knives and have struggled since moving into the camper to find a place for my huge "block" of knives, you know the one, a wooden block with slots to store a set of knives on the counter. This did not work well in a mobile environment. So again while shopping I saw what seemed to be a perfect solution. Another $5.00 dollar or so item, designed specifically for an RV. I mounted it on the door to the cabinet under the sink and now have easy access to my knives and they will travel well there as well!

Great simple solution for kitchen knife storage!

Dish Drainer - Most people use one daily and I have struggled without one for nearly a year! I could never find one small enough for the camper sink. Well yesterday I did and it fits perfectly...another less than $10.00 item that will make things so much easier. It will even fit down inside the second sink and can be used while on the move! Right now I have it sitting on the insert counter top for the second sink which I use when stationary although, if I can find a suitable place to store the inserts for the sinks I may move it down into the sink itself for better draining of the wet dishes.

Now a few pics...first a Wonderful Arizona Sunrise!

And some of the snowy weather I have experienced the past few days!

And finally an old water tower from a Ghost Town I discovered!

And finally a little map I made of the States I have visited since going full time in the RV!

Stay tuned for more updates now that I am software upgraded!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Sunday, February 17, 2013

February 17th - Road Trip to the "Desert Bar"

Several weeks ago on an RV Forum I participate in had a reference to a bar in the middle of the desert, off the grid and a great place to visit. I looked it up online and realized it was not that far from where I am currently camped for the winter, so I started watching the website and Facebook page for when they would be open and if there were any special activities planned.

Well yesterday was the day I was waiting for. They have an annual event which kind of kicks of their Spring season. They call it the Desert Dash and it is a 5K run, walk, bike, crawl from a location not far off the main highway and down the 5 mile dirt road that leads to the bar. The term road is used loosely, it resembles a road in that it is sometimes wide enough for two cars to pass each other and it has been graded at some point in time. However, I saw two people in standard automobiles changing tires along the way. It is rough and can easily damage a normal car tire. There were a couple times I was worried about my 10 ply All Terrain tires on my truck. I didn't need 4 wheel drive except at one point when I moved off the road to allow a regular passenger car to pass coming the other way hogging the middle of the "road"!

For me it was about a 100 miles each way with the last 6 miles on the dirt was an adventure to say the least and great fun!

History of the Desert Bar
Ken Coughlin, founder of this saloon, built the Desert Bar at the site of an old copper mining camp in 1975. Although all remnants of the original camp are gone, its spirit lives; its parking lot is located directly on the site where the mining camp once stood. At first, the saloon was a three-sided enclosed room, not much bigger than a small storage shed. Today, while maintaining its Old West character, Coughlin has expanded it substantially.

The bar has a website and you can see it HERE!

Some more good reading and history HERE!

Parker Arizona Rotary Presents the 20th Annual Buckskin Mountain Desert Dash. This is a 5 mile mountain bike-5K run - 5K fitness walk out to the Nellie E Saloon aka The Desert Bar. PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT the course runs through the Buckskin Mountains. The course is a graded road. This course lends itself not to a race but to a test of determination and adaptability. Vehicles will be parked at the registration area or continue to the Nellie E. Saloon finish line. THE COURSE WILL BE CLOSED TO ALL NON-AUTHORIZED TRAFFIC FROM 9:45 AM TO 11:00 AM. Since this is the only route, vehicles must be off the course by the 9:45 AM closure. Transportation will not be provided from the Nellie E Saloon finish line back to the parking (start) area.

Needless to say, I took some pictures around the bar and the desert to and from!

First thing I did was check the morning sky for any bad weather headed my way...clear as a bell and beautiful!

A cactus along the road.

Now for some scenes around the bar and party after the Desert Dash!

It was a great road trip and a fun time. If you are ever in Northern Arizona during the winter you must plan on a trip out to this place on a weekend as that is the only time it is open.

On another note - I have put a link to my latest publication - "Seasons in The Mist" about my last 6 seasons guiding in Alaska! The link is in the upper right corner of this blog or HERE! Feel free to preview it and order one if you are so inclined. It is published in a magazine format!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February 3rd - Update

Not much been going on the past few days, doing some work for the Lodge and some small projects around the trailer. A little frustrated today ran out of propane, of course right when I was cooking my lunch, but I survived.

Took a short walk here by the campground yesterday and shot a couple pictures, then went to a old car show by the Route 66 Hot Rod owners, it was great fun and some nice cars and some good music! I like looking at old cars!

Here is a distant view of the campground!

Found a cactus getting ready to bloom!

Now for some old cars!

And a composite from some of the various emblems to bring back some memories!

And a pretty girl singing some good country music!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest