October 17th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Uncategorized

Nothing like an amazing cup of coffee in the morning

Boy, what a change in the weather.

I woke up at 2:00 A.M. this morning to intense winds shaking the trailer. It felt as if one corner of the trailer was off the ground at one point. These were the worst winds I have encountered in the trailer so far – no need to do that again. It snowed last night and has been snowing today. The winds have been blowing strong all day but nothing like last night. We are under a winter weather advisory overnight with more snow on the way on into Monday. I have a feeling that the places where I took pictures and the video yesterday are no longer accessible after this. I am glad I got to go!

I ventured out and got the propane topped off this morning to make sure I am prepared for the cold. I have been staying plenty warm and still relying on mainly the electric heater with the furnace as a backup. At night the electric cannot quite keep up so the furnace kicks on to pick up the slack. I still cannot figure out where my electric blanket went so I grabbed the down mattress topper to put underneath me and I am using the down duvet cover from the bottom on top now for extra warmth. I just got two brand new Tempurpedic pillows yesterday to replace my old ones that were worn out (and giving me serious neck issues and bad headaches) so I am sleeping in comfort…if I could only sleep. I hope the pillows will help but that is not the issue completely.

Three days ago I decided to tape up the roof vents to keep the wind and dirt out until my new vent covers showed up (which they did two days ago). The noise of the wind blowing in the gap was very loud and annoying so I had to do something to stop that and reduce my having to clean everything daily. I imagine that the weather is still unsettled for the time being so I will probably have a few days I can sneak in getting them replaced. It should not take very long and looks to be fairly simple to do.

Today I opened up the drains to empty the water system. Tomorrow I hope the weather is better so I can use the air compressor to blow out the water lines. I have the cabinet doors open to keep the lines warm so they won’t freeze. From what I have read I won’t need to add RV antifreeze in the water lines after they are blown out which is good. It is easier than having to flush that stuff out and using air you can do it as needed.

I really like my new Nespresso machine. It is definitely a different way to make coffee. It makes coffee very reminiscent of what I had in Europe and that is what I was exactly what I was hoping for. The crema (foam) in the picture above is about an inch thick (it is just black coffee). The flavor selection of different coffees from around the world is incredible and excellent quality. The machine uses recyclable aluminum pods that spin to make the crema. A barcode on the pod tells the machine how much water to use for the different pods so you can make a shot of espresso all the way up to a 14 oz. cup. It’s a bit spendy for the coffee but the coffee is top-shelf and delicious. I don’t drink that much coffee in a day (no more than a couple of cups max) so it is still reasonable. I actually drink less with this but I am drinking better quality.

Well, I have been awake for a long time now so I am going to bed and hope for sleep. Maybe the tangerine Mike’s Hard Lemonades I drank will give me a good start.

Stay safe everyone.

October 11th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Road Trip, Travel

Today it was off to the pumpkin patch. It was a brisk windy day but it was fun. They had all sizes of pumpkins there, and some odd color ones too; one we got looked like a giant Honeycrisp apple. They had some that were red, and some with this weird green shade – like a lima bean green. If you zoom in on the picture, there are a few you can see.

It was on a ranch that had all sorts of animals – some you would not really expect to see except in a zoo:

The winds were horrible last night, and tonight is shaping up to be worse as the storms will be moving in. The winds were howling again and you could see rain/snow falling out of the clouds in the distance today. The winds (40-50 mph gusts) are forecast to continue a few days along with the precip – in whatever form it takes on the way down. It is going to be a rough few days weather-wise. We had some rain last night and figured it would be muddy this morning, but the ground is so dry the moisture was soaked right up and it looked like nothing ever happened.

I am finding a lot of dust from these fierce winds on everything inside the trailer. It’s so bad I am having to dust everything on a daily basis. The roof vent covers are warped from the sun and you can really hear the wind trying to get in through the gaps so I had to order some replacements. Hopefully it will cut down on the wind noise and the dust inside and maybe help the heat (or A/C) maintain more consistent temps inside. And hopefully, weather-permitting (or not), I can get them replaced since they will be here in a few days.

With the cold weather coming I need to insulate and seal things up as much as I can. I stay pretty cozy but anything to help save energy is always a good thing. I will probably have to get a heat tape or two for the tank drains. As far as the tanks, only one is exposed to the outside and that is the gray water tank so I will either have to add RV water system anti-freeze to it constantly to at least keep it slushy or add a heated pad on the bottom to keep it thawed out. The RV anti-freeze is not harmful like regular car anti-freeze so it won’t affect the system at a dump station. By doing this I can still use my bathroom and shower and not have to use a public one. From what I can tell, I think I can keep things pretty well thawed-out and usable by making a few adjustments.

One cold-weather idea I saw was people will get some bubblewrap (the small bubbles) and cut it to fit their RV windows. They then spray the inside of the windows with a mist of water and use the water to stick the bubblewrap to the window. The water evaporates, leaving the bubblewrap stuck to the window as insulation but it still lets light in. Easy to remove and replace. Very resourceful I thought and very clever. You could even add that shrink film window covering you shrink with a hairdryer over that. I don’t know if I will need to do that or not, but I am going to try to add a little weatherstripping and hopefully seal a few windows up a little tighter. I have some closed-cell foam that I think I may carve up and put in some storage areas as additional insulation to keep the cold out. I could also buy some styrofoam sheets to cut up and put in the storage areas to help insulate too. I have a few throw rugs on the floor so maybe I will just buy another one that matches and trim it down to “carpet” the whole floor.

I stopped at a place in Three Forks, MT for take-away the other day. It is in the historic Sacajawea Hotel and it is called The Sac Bar. I got this incredible burger called the Hilltop Burger and it is another one of the best burgers I have ever eaten. This is not a homestyle-burger; it is more of a gourmet burger ($14). See if this makes your taste buds pitch a tent: Montana Wagyu beef burger cooked medium, smoked onion BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, Vermont white cheddar, jalapeños and crispy fried onions. All of that on an incredible bun with a side. The sauce on this burger is one of the best BBQ sauces I have ever eaten – even in any BBQ restaurant. The burger is huge – may even be a half-pound patty. This chef knows what he is doing. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend it. They have another restaurant called Pompey’s Grill that is upscale dining and that menu has some really interesting dishes on it.

I think I will get an early start tomorrow and run to the storage unit to grab that foam to insulate some compartments when I get back and also grab a few other things I need – like another blanket. After that I may go get my flu shot. I try to wait as long as possible without waiting TOO long to get it. I think I am just about at that threshold, and with the pandemic exploding even more I want to keep myself well. I thought about taking a drive tomorrow but I think these things are a bit more important to take care of with the weather that is moving in. Plus, there may be snow on the roads.

That’s about it for now.

September 28th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel

Today, I woke up.

YAY!!!

Seriously, today I wanted to get somewhat of an early start to drive back over and down to Coeur d’Alene. I have never been downtown or by the waterfront so I wanted to do that. And, it JUST so happens that there is a famous place there I want to eat called Hudson’s Hamburgers.

I left the KOA and Apple Maps routed me east and south through Idaho which is how I wanted to go anyway since it is a road I had not been on. It ended up being a very scenic drive through gold farmlands in amongst the dark green hills. A very beautiful drive and one worth the time – it took me an hour and twenty minutes or so to get to where I was going. If you have ever driven through CdA/Spokane on I-90 you will understand avoiding that mess even by taking backroads.

I got into downtown and it’s a nice area if you are a shopper and like sidewalk cafes and beers – not really my kind of place to hang out. I got parked and just 600 feet around the corner there it was. Hudson’s. Nothing fancy and a very limited menu. Since I was here for a burger, I ordered up a cheeseburger with spicy mustard and onion. I stepped outside, unwrapped it and angels sang as a bright light shot out of the wrapper. Absolutely one of THE best burgers I have ever eaten. Yes, he said “ever”. Juicy, homestyle burger cooked perfectly, a slab of white onion and some fairly spicy brown mustard. I damn near went back for a second one it was so good. That alone was worth driving over six hours yesterday and the drive down to the restaurant.

I took a walk around the area, but since I am not really a shopper it didn’t do much for me. I did stop and buy an almond blackberry cookie at a bakery that was a little spendy but it was really good. I decided to get back on I-90 and head west of Spokane to pick up US 2/395 north toward the trailer.

I took my exit, and of all the bad luck there was a Dick’s Hamburgers joint at the bottom of the ramp. NOT all Dick’s are the same. This is not affiliated with the chain in the Seattle area. But, it has piqued my curiosity driving past it many times and ever since I ate at the Seattle ones as much as possible as you know from previous posts.

This was quite different than the Seattle ones but still a pretty good burger, and both are definitely much different than Hudson’s. I thought the fries were good but the Seattle ones have a soft spot as a similar memory from my childhood – my grandma’s hand-cut fries cooked in a cast iron skillet in lard. One of the top four fries I have ever eaten (Dick’s, my grandma’s, the ones at the bar near Grand Coulee Dam, the duckfat-cooked fries in Galway at a pub). Anyway, Hudson’s you MUST stop at and any Dick’s location east or west you cannot go wrong for different reasons.

Rider and I headed back to the trailer. I don’t think he is feeling very good. He hasn’t eaten much the last few days which isn’t normal. We got back and I tied him up outside. He eventually got to feeling a bit more lively and we took a walk over to the lake. I think tomorrow we are gonna just stay here and take the trail around the lake, and maybe walk around other parts of the campground.

It’s pretty quiet here right now but it is probably hopping when there’s no pandemic. They have a lot of family activities here along with the little lake and it is also part of a camping club network so yeah…it gets busy. But it is a nice place and the people are very friendly. It has great ratings and I see why. Not my usual style of camping but I knew I could get a spot here.

I actually ran into an issue in a spot last night and had to be moved. No, it was not another redneck blowhard asshat. It was an odd problem; the sewer pipe hook-up pipe was higher than my trailer tank outlets so they just would not drain. Of course I discovered this after I had already unhooked the trailer and got it set up. Something to remember to check for more often. I talked to them about the problem and they moved me to a better site and there was no extra charge. Luckily I had only hooked up the grey water and not the black but I knew what I needed to test it with and it wasn’t poo-related.

Sometimes I buy frozen Bird’seye garlic chicken with vegetables and pasta and it is really good. They came out with a new plant-based protein version (made with Gardein brand Chik’n) and it was not bad at all. Tonight I stir-fried it up (without the garlic butter) in some General Tso’s sauce. It was pretty good, but I find myself steering away from that old favorite to something less sweet and more savory these days. I guess my tastes have changed considerably as I noticed this about a year ago. I guess it’s why I have been eating more Thai food the last few years.

Unfortunately, I was in a hurry and I forgot I used all of my eggs up so I guess it will be either bacon and cheese in a tortilla (a “breakfadilla©” I shall call it and © 2020) or a Noosa yogurt. I did not realize it until I got back earlier but I didn’t want to leave again – not even tomorrow. I just want a down day to go hike around. I’ll make it work!

This has been a very relaxing trip so far. Today after we got back I just sat on the tailgate of my truck looking and listening for an hour or so. I am looking forward to the walk around the lake, too, and I know the dog will like that. It looks to be another gorgeous day tomorrow so it will be a great day to really lay back. Yeah, there’s several days of stuff to see and do around here but I only have a few days so I’m having a slack day.

It is very pleasant outside tonight. Cool but not too, perfectly still air and fairly quiet – a nearly-perfect evening that recharges you. The dog wanted to go for a stroll to check the irrigation so we walked leisurely down the road a bit and came back as he inspected; I have not seen a night like this in quite some time and it is so nice…even soothing. We have had cool nights but the never-ending wind…well, it never ends.

Getting out on these trips brings out the travel bug in a big way. It feels good to be on the road seeing things. I am so ready to get back to Europe I cannot stand it. I have been thinking about both my trips over and the girls and I were talking about our trip again. I need a long stay – enough to rent a place for a month, then another place for a month, and maybe a third, all in different countries. I still have enough miles to schedule a flight but I just can’t go for it yet.

I went out to close the front window cover a few minutes ago and had this weird flashback of doing the same thing in Banff National Park in September 2012 (almost eight years to the day…within a few weeks). My parents let me take the trailer to Washington State when I was moving, and I had a pretty big adventure. It’s why I started this blog. I didn’t know much about the trailer but I got through it and learned along the way. I have learned so much and I am still learning not just about the trailer, but a different way to live. It has an oddness and uncertainty about it most people would think “no, it’s not for me”, and rightfully so, I guess. It really is not for everyone. I really am enjoying it though. Most importantly I have had a lot of fun doing it.

It’s now time to kick back for the evening.

See you next time!

September 27th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel

Guess you can’t have it both ways…

Hard to believe another summer has come and gone and it is nearly October. It certainly feels like Fall in the air now and it is a welcomed change from that 100 degree BS of not long ago. The days have been pleasant, the nights cool, but the air is still choked with smoke. A few days ago the air cleared out and it was once again clear and breathable. Too bad it only lasted the one day.

With the weather getting cooler I am having to make some adjustments in the trailer. I now have to keep an eye on the cooler temps to make sure things don’t freeze but that has only been an issue a couple of nights so far. I have been using the electric heat instead of the propane furnace but I will be digging out the electric blanket at some point when I can figure out where it is buried in the storage unit. I also put some long sleeve shirts in the trailer and put the kilt in storage but left out a pair of shorts just in case. It is that time of year when you don’t know how to dress on any given day so best be prepared for most anything. It is the mountain way of life!

He’s loving this travel thing too!

Since it is getting into the time of year where travel in the northern part of the country starts shutting down, this morning I left for a campground north of Spokane, WA for possibly one of the few remaining leisure trips with the trailer this year. I did hope to get out a day or two sooner but the winds were blowing so hard that towing the trailer would be too dangerous, so between that and avoiding the weekend crowds I decided to leave today. It’s going to be about 6-7 hours of driving (adding extra time to stop for more fuel and exercise breaks).

Other than an old truck with a bumper sticker that said “You’re about to exceed the limitations of my medication” that made me laugh out loud, it was an uneventful drive and a nice day for a drive other than a little headwind. This is the first trip with the truck pulling the trailer up over a couple of fairly steep passes and it ran great. Plenty of power and the gas mileage improved even over the passes.

I have a few days here to relax and explore this area. I have not really spent much time in this area but I have been through areas west and east of here and north into Canada (too bad it’s still closed at the border) in years past. One really nice thing about being in a campground like this is your rig is pretty safe if you want to go adventure out doing some day trips. I plan on taking advantage of that every day since the forecast is not too bad for the next few days. The full utilities are certainly nice to have and come back to at the end of the day, especially having electricity on these cold nights. I do like the solitude of boondocking, though.

I got here right at the tail-end of the open season for the campground here. I believe they said this coming weekend is it for the year so I lucked out. It is in a really nice setting – lots of trees and a lake nearby that we will go check out at some point.

Tomorrow I am probably going to go back south to check out stuff around the cities plus I am on a food mission. I have never stopped here for more than a night in a hotel or the trailer and I thought this would be a good opportunity to see some of this area and not be rushed of crushed by tourists. It is a pretty area with lots of trees and Lake Coeur d’Alene is beautiful.

Tonight, however, it’s time to do some stir-fry noodles in the wok and relax with a beverage.

September 17th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel

I got up early to get an early start and decided in the interest of hitting the road faster i went and got breakfast and coffee. I usually do not unhook my truck so I can just wake up and get gone but I wanted to run around, and the trailer is not level in this spot if it is hooked up – it kinda goes uphill so the trailer tongue has to be cranked down lower than the hitch on the truck to be level for the fridge to work properly and the shower to drain.

The air quality is not good today – much worse than yesterday and I am starting to cough and wheeze from it so apparently I am leaving at the perfect time. I wish I had longer to stay and drive around but with the air getting unhealthy it’s just as well I leave now.

Luckily, with all my recent trips I have gotten into a pretty good rhythm to getting things done fairly quick both setting up and packing it back up for the road. Nice thing with a trailer is when it is raining hard you just park, open the door and go to bed. Dry and warm. Gotta use the toilet? It’s in your closet (basically in mine it is).

I got everything unhooked and put away then hit the road for the drive back. The winds were not quite as bad as they were on the way down but pulling a trailer still knocks the gas mileage down even with a tailwind. I stop often for gas – when I am at about a half-tank – so I don’t run out again like I did a while back. I got gas for $1.99/gallon in Cheyenne and in the low-$2.00 range most of the rest of the trip. The KOA was only $42/night and that was with full hookups.

Having the dog with me it’s good to let him out to exercise and do what he needs to do, and it gets me out of the truck as well so I stop often for that. He still loves to travel and does pretty good but I have had to put the crate in the back and lock him up in it to keep him from wandering.

All the way back the air quality was really horrible so I had the air conditioning set on recirculate to keep the bad air out. I saw the mountains very little and in some places they are not that far from the interstate. Even getting back to the house the smoke is thicker than I have seen in almost the entire time I have been here. I can’t stop coughing and clearing my throat. It sucks and I hope I do not get sick again, but I am staying inside, keeping the inhaler going and doing whatever else I need to do to to fight it off the best I can. I have not taken many pictures on this trip since there was really nothing to see due to the smoke so I did not bother trying.

It was so fantastic to be back in Colorado once again and revisit some long-ago visited places and memories from the past 40-odd years. I had not thought about those ‘shoestring adventures” of those days in quite a while and as I did I smiled inside and out. I only stayed in free places, I froze my ass off at times and was hungry on occasion, but I had a great time traveling like that. I still travel on a low budget but it is because I want to and because I enjoyed doing it in my 20s. Sure, I have the luxury of a trailer now but that doesn’t mean I have to give up the best and most honest way to travel; one that makes you find your happiness without much money.

So, Colorado…I hope to be back very soon! No need to leave a light on for me.

I know the way very well.