Tag Archives: rv

No heaven on earth. No utopias. Just more people

Finding stereotypes capable of holding up under close scrutiny is necessary for humans, but generally goes unrefined.

Finding stereotypes capable of holding up under close scrutiny is necessary for humans, but generally goes unrefined.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I spent a while bouncing around RV full timers forum-type discussion board-type places lately.  Curious about whether any stereotype applies.  What I found was not a single good, solid stereotype a person could hammer down to perfection, but rather a number of herds of them.

Not much of this sort of thing out there among the modern nomad population.  Whether they're van dwellers or motor homesters, clean lines, shiny paintjobs and glitter are major attractions.  If it ain't eye candy it belongs in a different universe.

Not much of this sort of thing out there among the modern nomad population. Whether they’re van dwellers or motor homesters, clean lines, shiny paintjobs and glitter are major attractions. If it ain’t eye candy it belongs in a different universe.

Fields of peas pretty much running with other peas, cornfields sticking with their corny neighbors, and everyone seemingly well fed.  A few farmers within each stereotype weeding and watering.

I was especially interested in Slab City and what the people who stay there winters have to say to one another.  I thought because it’s as near anarchy as a person gets in the US, it might tell some worthy things about us as a place viewing itself as a free people, thinkers, individualists.

There’s some of that on the surface.  Everyone saying to one another, you have to take whatever comes in Slab City.  Everyone celebrating and patting themselves on the backs for their rugged individualism.

But in fact there’s an undercurrent a lot less worthy of self-praise among them.  An undercurrent of bullying and intimidation hidden in the “gotta take it as it comes” platitudes.

Turns out “take it as it comes” means, “take me as I come” and don’t even think about me taking you as you come.  If you try I’ll probably slit your tires.  Or shoot your cats.

It manifests itself subtly in the matter of cats.  Seems over the past few years women visiting the slabs have had their cats killed by dogs, or shot by dog lovers.  Always women.  How about them apples?

For folks who don’t have much interest nor love for cats and don’t have any desire at all in going on crusades, sacrificing the soothing rewards of rugged individualist wildass self-image community, it just flows down like Jack Daniels Black Label.  Everything bad hiding inside “taking it as it comes” harmony.

I’m figuring it would be a place I’d have to go to war if I landed there.  Can’t see myself sitting still for having my tires cut, knowing someone else who got his tires cut, me having a firm idea who did it.  And most especially knowing who some cat-shooting human was, or cat-killing dog-running-loose owner.

Sometimes wars can happen without anyone having to go looking for, drive so damned far out of the way.  I hope I don’t have anymore wars left ahead of me this lifetime, but if I do I ain’t going to drive 1000 miles to find them.

Old Jules

A place to live if the RV breaks down

Hi readers. I swapped Gale for this trailer, finalized it yesterday.

In addition to giving me the means to get my stuff out of this valley and into storage in Harper, I can live in this thing if the RV breaks down somewhere up the road. It’s light enough so a half-ton junker pickup truck can pull it.

It takes a considerable load off my mind. Both Gale and Raymond, the guy up the hill have pointed out if that RV quits I’ll be dead in the water. I tried not to let it bother me, but couldn’t help it nagging me some.

But with a Coleman stove and oven, my diesel burning heater, a bunk, I can live in this thing. Better than almost all my ancestors almost certainly lived before they left Europe. And certainly better than any Native American ancestors did.

The DuoTherm heater began life in the late 1940s or early ’50s as a kerosene trailer heater. The man up the hill had it, but we couldn’t get the carb to work. Eventually replaced the carb with a needle valve and converted it to diesel fuel, which is cheaper and more easily available.

Besides, if a person doesn’t have much he doesn’t have much to lose.

Old Jules

Turnbuckles – The Final Solution

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

carrier and box 1

A guy over in Rock Springs built this platform to fit into the hitch receiver out of scrap iron for me.  Another guy threw in the junk toolbox and bolted it into the platform.  Cost for the whole shooting match was too insignificant to believe.

And once I had it I could carry an el cheapo 2.5 ton floor jack to ease my concerns about future blowouts.  But carrying that floor jack home in there showed me the hitch receiver doesn’t have the moxie to keep the thing straight and level.  By the time I got home it was listing a few inches on the side the floor jack was riding.

carrier and box 2

I studied on it for a day trying to think of every possible solution.  I had a set of tiedown turnbuckles and clamps from a roof rack carrier I knew someday I’d find a use for.

carrier and box 3

Voila!

carrier and box 4a

Ran cables across the top of the bumper and attached them to the RV frame.  Pulled that mama back up level with the bumper slicker than greased owl-scat.

One of the nice things about this thing is that I can trailer it, along with other containers when I want to pull a trailer, leave the trailer behind and put this into the hitch receiver when I want to slum and go spartan.

And always have a floor jack along to do the heavy lifting.

Old Jules

Teetering on the brink of a Christian Era here

Hi readers.

Whoopteeedoo!  Something finally worked as planned.

Escape route 2.51 storage

It’s been troubling my mind for some while, that huge storage box I couldn’t access because the ladder was wokkyjaw damaged, one leg at the top swinging loose, kinks and bends, supports pulled through the RV skin.  Not one thing about it caused a man to wish to climb it.

RV ladder repair 5

I worked most of the day crossing my fingers and knocking on wood as I went.  Cut about three inches out of the section toward the top, slid an undersized piece of tubing inside and spliced it together. 

RV ladder repair 3

That allowed the end that’s supposed to  connect on the roof to come down enough to touch, anyway.  There was a piece of rusted 1/8 inch steel rod, threaded, sticking out of the roof.  Supposed to go inside the ladder connected somehow, I reckons.

RV ladder repair 4

Couldn’t think of any meaningful way to replace it, so I whittled down a piece of broom handle to fit inside the tubing, drilled a 1/16th inch hole lengthwise through it and gorilla-glued the hell out of it.

RV ladder repair 6

Couldn’t think of much anything to do with the tools at hand about that kink, so I just hose-clamped a step on top of it.

RV ladder repair storage2

Now that I can get to it, that box is going to carry a sleeping bag, coleman stove, small tent, pick and shovel, gold pans and classifier, backpack and a number of other essentials I’d been gnashing my teeth wondering how to carry along.

Life wasn’t bad yesterday, but it’s better today.

Old Jules

Learning debts incurred Universe-wise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately, learning a lot, some of which might be false, but I learned it anyway. Now that I’ve blown out enough tires on two different RVs to satisfy my curiosity I’m willing to try to apply some of it. Even though it robs my macho because of not knowing it before when I knew all manner of things.

First off, there’s the thing about tires. They ain’t as good as they used to be. Old guy behind the counter at the tire store and I conversed about it a while when we shared mutual memories of having bought junkyard tires and run them until they were down to the threads. Lots of them, and neither of us remembered much in the way of blowouts.

But now the DOT mandates they date those tires. And as a consequence, he opines they blow just about when the DOT predicted they would. The DOT gave the tire industry a leg up against criticism by providing them an “I told you so!” escape and they made great engineering use of it. Supposition, but possumly true.

Secondly, another old guy pointed out all the tires I’ve blown were right-rear dooleys. Beginning with inside ones. He opined that what I’m doing is running with that right rear wheel too near the pavement edge, maybe off it, forcing the inside-rear tire to carry all the weight. Which makes a hell of a lot of sense.

I’d been mulling over the fact every blowout I’ve had happened on highway RR479 north bound and wondering at the coincidence. It’s a fairly good Texas Ranch Road with a lot of hills and curves. Might just be I’ve been letting it drift, one wheel off the pavement instead of hugging the centerline.

Thirdly, I’ve also satisfied my curiosity about whether I’m interested in arm-wrestling lug nuts put on with impact drivers. Even with a 5 foot cheater, even with a T-bar after they’re loose, I was having to take breaks between lugs. And after I put them back on and tightened them, I’d stop a few miles down the road to check, they’d always be loose enough to require a little more tight with the bar. Half-dozen times between here and Kerrville. If an impact tool’s able to take care of just that problem of reality and confidence, it’s worth the price of admission.

[Debating with myself here, can’t recall whether 4th is spelled, Fourth, or Forth – what-the-hell]

Next: Careful examination of the half-inch drive corded hammer-drill suggests it might function as an impact tool, but it’s going to need a half-inch adapter between the drill-chuck and male socket whatchallit. If it works it’s going to be a lot cheaper than an off the shelf impact tool, and it doesn’t have a battery to go kerplunk.

Next: That trim above the right-rear wheel well [see pic] was destroyed when the tire blew. No way that piece of trim is going to jump out of the Universe at me to be replaced, so I’m going to have to find a way to innovate. Not entirely for aesthetics, but some places are pickypickypicky wanting to see pics of the rig before they’ll consider a person who wants to clean up their trash, mow their grass, listen to complaints of RV owners. In exchange for a pad with hookups, etc.

Last, I’ve been troubled because my ALT gauge doesn’t tell me squat about whether the alternator’s working or not. Couldn’t figure why. A guy on one of the vintage RV groups answered my question about it by telling me he had the same problem. Bought a cheap digital gadget plugs into the lighter socket. I got one yesterday and hot diggety damn. Yes, HOT diggety damn! You heard me right.

But I’ve digressed. The crux of it all is that, after having been provided all this new stuff to learn, I have to live long enough to use it, damn me if I don’t. Got myself a karmic debt on my Credit Card with an obligation I might carry spang into my next lifetime if I kick before using it.

So now, instead of just having to live long enough to pay back Keith and Rich for the lifesaving loans to get the RVs, instead of just having to outlive the damned cats, I’ve got to spend the remainder of my life changing blown tires and unscrewing pesky lug nuts.

Sheeze.

Old Jules

The Party Never Ends

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

First, I want to thank Bob for the link he provided about Gate Guard jobs, a particular blog entry that swivelled my thinking on the issue entirely.  The issues of wear and tear on the RV because of the dust on the sites, bearings and other wear surfaces, particularly.  Along with everything clogging, electrical connections not making contact, and the bad roads getting to town for groceries all conspired to convince me it’s not the job for this RV, these cats, and this old guy who wants to die before the party of the first part, but after the parties of the second part.

Second, today I’ll be taking it to town for the first time since I got the tags transferred.  Need to pick up something called a ‘deep cycle’ battery to run the various coach functions.  The one that’s on it is dead meat, which I knew when I bought it and used it to argue the guy down a bit on the price I paid.  But it’s got to be replaced.

I’ll also be going by a coin laundry for the first time since I’ve been in Texas to get some clothes back into non-pioneer conditions.

Afterward I’ll go behind all the malls and big stores for packing boxes so’s I can get my belongings out of here and into the storage place.  Everything I can’t carry along right now, winter clothing, that sort of thing.

Thirdly, groceries.  Getting food of types I haven’t been equipped to utilize in a goodly while.  Because everything on that RV WORKS.

Lastly:  I might put the thing through one of those oil change places, get it lubricated, everything checked out for fluid levels, new oil.  Instead of doing it my ownself, which ain’t all that much cheaper and is just one more time-sink.

Life’s a good adventure.  It allows the illusion of forward movement, even standing still, leaning forward, preparing to stagger into the future.

Old Jules

Macho Robbing High-Tech Living

RV x 2

If you’re like me most of you probably already know there’s something counter-frontiersman, counter-pioneer about just pushing a button to kick on a pump, then stepping inside a little room to have a hot, pressurized shower.  Washing dishes in a sink with hot water instead of putting them upside down over a fire-ant bed and just wiping them down after the ants do their work.

Like me, you probably feel a lot of guilt, something vaguely counter-natural, counter-human when you indulge in this type of behavior.

But yesterday and today I did.

And damn it felt good.  Probably do it again tomorrow and dwindle off some more macho.  I’m old enough to have some to spare that I would have needed for other things when I was younger.

Jules