June 20th, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

My idea to take the trailer out had to be postponed for a few weeks.

First thing is the weather. What fun is it to go someplace to unwind if you have to stay inside an RV the whole time because it is raining? The forecast was a bit shaky for a couple of places I wanted to go…not horrible but still a possibility.

Second, choices for a campsite were rather slim – the ONLY drawback of my “no planning” travel methodology. Lots campgrounds but pretty picked over. Looks like I’m going to need to make a reservation. Ugh.

Third, I need to get the Avalanche in for an oil change. Pulling a load like a trailer is additional wear and tear so it needs changed a bit moire frequently. The “Change Oil” light just came on and I want to stay on top of it. That truck runs like the day it was born and it should for a long time yet. My dad changed the oil in it regularly and had no problems with it. I put brakes on it and there is the dash gauge cluster needing to be fixed, but other than that and oil nothing else has been done.

Fourth, I will be having an even longer extended weekend in a few weeks so I can look forward to doing that. I’ll be able to spend more money on that adventure to go farther and see more.

I will also have to go against my usual lack of planning and, well, plan and make a reservation for a site. Plus, the weather usually changes around that time and the rain becomes more scarce.

All of these added up to deciding I will put my energy and finances towards that next trip so I decided to stay close to home and try to find things needing done (which isn’t very much).

I do have a particular destination in mind for that upcoming road trip. It is actually a long-time Bucket/Life List item for me so I am excited to see this place.

It was a rather leisurely day today, but I still got some things done and did not just sit around on my ass. Trailer stuff is now all packed away inside and it’s ready to tow. Got some things consolidated and cleaned out of the storage unit and finally found a few things I needed in there. I got my truck mostly cleaned out but still have a few things to take to recycling.

Part of that recycling is the box my new portable propane grill came in. I got it put together today and fired it up to burn the new out of it. I then grilled up some lunch – salmonburgers dripping with melted Baby Swiss cheese and presented on a grilled bun (hahaha). They were as delicious as it sounds. The grill seems to cook fairly evenly and I am glad I decided to get it. I have missed grilling. It will be so handy for traveling and I can still grill if I am out traveling during a fire ban.

As I type this I am cooking up a “chicken burrito bowl” recipe that I have made before but it has been a few years. I am using the Instant Pot this time but last time it was in my slow cooker. The house smells so good right now and it is almost done, It wasn’t 4-5 hours in the slow cooker but still took maybe 90 minutes. I had to start by pressure-cooking the dried black beans, THEN take them out and dump in everything else but the rice. The recipe called for canned beans but I had dried ones and had to cook ’em up first so my total cook time has actually been about an hour or so. Not a bad shortcut!

Oh, and I finished mowing the grass.

Not a stressful day at all – it’s really very nice to have the weekends freed up by taking care of stuff after work. I am trying to get all my doctor appointments scheduled to not interfere with my time off – that way if I decide to take a trip I can go on a whim.

 

June 15th, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

It’s been a busy few days so this weekend of mine was a working one. I had to run errands and get some things done but I think going forward I will be able to get things out of the way during the week and free up my weekends. I have a few long weekends coming up and it will be plenty of time to go places a bit farther away. I already have some destination ideas but I won’t really know until I get there – my usual modus operandi. Besides, I never put it on here ahead of time anyway!

Yesterday I ran around and finally bought a grill. I was really undecided on which one but I got a portable stainless steel one like the type they usually put on the stern of bigger boats. It can be used as a table-top model so I can use it in the backyard or take it on trips. It will be handy for when you cannot light charcoal due to restrictions. It is so much cleaner and easier too. I am sure I will be trying it out probably tomorrow  in the backyard. I’ll light it and let the new burn off of it so I don’t ruin my food or get poisoned.

The weather here was beautiful today and it is supposed to be quite nice for the next week or so. I think a road trip may be in order, possibly even next weekend.

Last night I finally got the new taillights installed on the trailer. The weather held out so I was able to get them on and weathertight (well, in theory at least). The sealant has cured and any potential leaks from them should not be an issue. It is street-legal once again so I can now get it out on my weekends.

I have not seen any more evidence of leaks so I am really happy about that. There was quite a bit of work that went into finding and then fixing all of the potential areas of leaking. All the clearance lights had to be sealed. The only major necessary repair now is the shower pan; the inner fender is still needing some repair but it can get by for a bit longer. I still want to take the windows out (and probably the door at some point) to reseal them but I believe that I am gonna need some help putting the two halves back on the trailer. The window next to the door I can do by myself and would be a good one to practice on. Any possible places for window leaks I sealed up last year so they can still go for a while before they must be pulled out and sealed. I also want to paint the metal on the frame.

The shower pan is still the highest priority of anything major and it will be the next big project. I want to get out in the trailer for a few trips now, and especially before I really dive into that repair. It’s been nearly a year since I took a trip in it and I told myself that I was going to get out in it much more this year. I had to fix the things I kept finding so that was keeping me from going much.

Today I had to do some more running. I came home and did some cooking and rearranging, moving my desktop Mac to the table next to my recliner. I will still use it for some recording but it can sit back in the shadows so I can get my food processor and InstantPot out and usable. I’m using the MacBook now for everyday things.

Tonight I tried out a new recipe I found – mini-lasagnes made from wonton wrappers. I only made 12 for now, but before I knew what happened I had eaten eight of the damn things (I haven’t eaten much today). It is nothing really special or fancy, but they are good and would go over well at a party or fun having kids make. They are made in a standard-size muffin tin. One COULD say that it is kind of like a tiny dinner…or perhaps a giant appetizer. I think next time I would cut back half on the ricotta though. It was a bit too overpowering. I have the remaining four and I will see how re-heatable they are tomorrow night. I have plenty of wonton wrappers left so if they reheat well I will just make up the rest and freeze them along with the leftover sauce.

My weekend went by way too fast this week. My new plan of keeping my weekends free started last week. I mowed the grass after work one night and I still need to go out and trim a little more. Some exercise along with accomplishing stuff and freeing up the weekends. There should be little else to do this week except to clean up some work mess in the trailer from the repairs I have done. I can toss a few groceries in it and shouldn’t need much else.

A bit easier than the old car-camping days!

June 8th, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

I awoke this morning, much like the rest of the world, to the shocking news that Anthony Bourdain had died.

Bourdain’s shows really sparked something inside, and I could even say he inspired me to not only take some chances and try new foods here in this country, but also to travel and experience the world. Granted I have always loved travel and wanted to go abroad, but he made it seem more accessible and less intimidating for everyday people.

His shows, from “A Cook’s Tour” to “Parts Unknown”, taught us that we are all the same no matter where we are and what narcissist anoints themselves king. He had a “normal guy” genuineness in his presentation, eager to explore the local culture, eat local foods and avoid expensive restaurants (except on rare occasions). “Be like a local” was his style and a pleasant, unpretentious and much-needed change from the usual travel shows.

Thanks to his programs I had the “guts” to try haggis in Edinburgh and currywurst in Köln, all while not feeling too intimidated by foreign travel and language (except for the first day or two) on our European trip earlier this year.

Thanks, Tony, for the inspiration and showing me that the world is not completely a bad place full of bad people and horrible food.

In Other News

A friend from Alaska came in town for the past few days so we got to hang out and do some sightseeing. We had not seen each other for ten years but have stayed in touch. It was great to hang out and get a chance to talk in person and eat some good food.

IMG_0986

My first attempt!

I made a gluten-free pineapple upside-down cake in a cast-iron pan last night and it turned out pretty good. It’s hard to resist the temptation of sitting in the recliner with the platter and a fork but I’m still trying to continue with my diet. I only ate one piece last night so I did good with the willpower. Maybe I should reward myself with an extra piece or two today!

I got a new cargo kilt in the mail yesterday from UT Kilts and I am anxious for the weather to warm up a little more (and not be as rainy) so I can wear it. It is made of ripstop so it is lightweight and tough, with lots of pockets. They won’t let me, but I really wish I could wear it to work! I have another one on the way as well and want to get a few more. I would to get a Utilikilt in Seattle but they are spendy. I should just go for it anyway and get one. Spoil myself a little.

Today I’ll be taking care of some errands and do some cooking. I found a recipe for mini-lasagnes using wonton wrappers so I’ll give that a try. I have some other stuff I want to cook and freeze to have fast easy meals after work. I have chicken Italian sausage to cook up with garlic and olive oil to put over pasta, and plenty of supplies to make up Philly steak meat ahead of time to freeze. I got some more gluten-free pizza crusts yesterday and want to put the Philly steak meat on one with some provolone. Oughta be delicious!

With the threat of rain (and the urge to cook up a bunch of stuff) I am not sure about getting the taillights on the trailer today but we’ll see. It may have to wait until next week. I am shifting my focus on trying to get more things done during the week so my weekends are free to go do some things I want to do, like taking the trailer out.

That’s it for now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 31st, 2018

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Scotty Hilander, Uncategorized

Man was it nice to have the day off and I get another one tomorrow.

My first weeks at work have been busy but now it is the real busy season and the pace has definitely picked up. Over the holiday weekend I talked with a lot of people. It was busy and non-stop, but it was really nowhere near as hectic as I thought it would be. I’m fine with it calming down though. I have plenty of things to get done.

I went to the acupuncturist again this morning. Eastern medicine is very fascinating and has been very effective for me in the past. You have to approach it with an open mind since they talk about some things the local PPO doesn’t. I don’t care…it seems to be loosening my back up and she is working on some other issues going on as well. It just works.

This afternoon I got the wasp screens put in the refrigerator grates on the trailer. I am glad to finally have that done. It was tedious and time-consuming but it was easy. I haven’t had them very long so I wasn’t sitting on them for months.

I had to buy some metal snips to trim the screens to fit but they will also come in handy when I fix the fender-well that was torn up by the tire blowout in Utah last year. I believe that I can make a good repair to it pretty easily.

What I plan to do is find some thin sheet metal and cut and rivet that new metal over the old metal on the underside (that means taking the tire off and that is a real pain) and secure it on the frame. I will then spray it with Flex Seal – it will seal up the seams and rivets nicely and the whole repair will be a more permanent fix than my temporary one without taking it to a shop. I cannot imagine what they would charge to fix the fender-well after the price I got to fix the shower. It would involve taking a lot of things apart and that would be spendy. I’ll just fix it from the outside and it’ll be fine.

I have plans later in the day tomorrow to meet up with some friends. I’d like to get the new taillights on the trailer tomorrow but I really need to replenish the pantry and do some serious cooking. I’ll at least get some groceries and I plan on getting a grill tomorrow. I wake up by 6 AM on my days off so I can get up early, have a cup of coffee and hit the store.

I have gone back and forth between buying charcoal vs. propane grills. The purist in me prefers charcoal but propane has a lot of positives. It is easier, consistent heat and less polluting. I had a propane grill in CO and I used the hell out of it. I even added a smoke pan to some things I made and it tasted great.

Pieces are falling into place for what is turning out to be something rather big on the horizon. No, I won’t tell you what it is or give any details at this moment (you should know me better than that by now), but when it happens I will definitely be posting about it.

Stay tuned…