January 15th, 2021

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

It was a busy afternoon today.

I got up this morning and it was time for coffee, then I got the dog out for a walk. He never seems to be in a rush to get out in the mornings so I am gonna caffeinate myself first. It seems odd that he doesn’t wake up doing the pee-pee dance, but then again he is odd. He didn’t even eat his breakfast until a few hours before dinner.

I locked the dog in his crate and got the bike out for a longer shakedown ride around the block (2-3 miles or so). I need to make a few adjustments – the front fender is rattling a bit against the front fork and the brakes need tightened up some. I really don’t know much about working on bicycles but these are minor things that I feel comfortable with tackling. I can look at some videos online and figure it out if necessary.

It is definitely a different feel riding this bike and it will take some getting used to it. Small tires and sitting up so high are not what I am used to but I will adjust. I also need to get mirrors, a bell, and more lights along with maybe some other things for more visibility. My motorcycle wreck affected my neck and I now cannot turn my head very well to see if anyone is coming so some mirrors are high on the list before I ride it again very far. It does move along pretty good without the Class III setting, but I DO like speed…

I got back and we went for another walk, then came home and started cooking. I made some beef & bean burritos and some beef stroganoff. I got everything labeled and in the freezer; I have a total of 12 meals frozen as of now. I still have to cook dinner yet, and I got another EveryPlate box yesterday so that will be for the next few days’ meals.

I went to Costco yesterday to get a few things and got the 1000-pack of tortillas (you know what I mean), so I used some for the burritos and I will be making up and freezing some breakfast burritos the next few days. I am still trying to do the cold oats with berries and cashew milk for breakfast every morning but breakfast burritos are great any time of the day. I always like doing something different for breakfast on Sunday mornings so since I cannot go out for breakfast I cook something for myself and forgo the overnight oats. It breaks up the week and when it is possible I’ll be meeting up with friends for a restaurant breakfast on Sundays.

While cooking I decided to listen to some music. Last night I watched a couple of videos from the new AC/DC album. Damn, that album rocks and sounds like the old days. I got on Apple Music and added that album and Highway to Hell. I listened to Highway to Hell while cooking and that is a great album. I am waiting until later to listen to the new one; I have a giant playlist of new music I have added but have not listened to yet so I am trying to knock that list down a little before listening to anything else. I listened to some old Porcupine Tree while cleaning up the kitchen and doing the dishes.

After taking my truck in to get fixed, the “Check Engine” light came on again; it is why I took it to the dealer to start with and they replaced the part that THEY said was bad after I replaced parts I thought were bad. It is going in early next week to get looked at again. I am really hoping to get it fixed correctly this time and get out for some long day trips to help maintain sanity. I don’t need (or want) to be around groups of people…I just need some new scenery to look at. Once I get this fixed I will feel better about going in the forest to explore or on a longer drive, plus the fuel mileage will improve.

I guess I could even take the trailer out to get away once the truck is fixed, but I must say it has been nice being out of it for a while so I have not been too excited about getting back in it yet and I am fairly certain the dog agrees. I would have to de-winterize it so I will wait a few more weeks to do that to make sure the danger of freezing is past. With the last-minute storage after finding this place I had to put water line anti-freeze in it again so I would have to go to a campground to de-winterize for the first trip. I am glad I did dump some in it since it did freeze several nights, but I still hate putting that stuff in there. It makes that first trip a pain and it takes a while to flush it out of the system.

I am still working on the airline tickets but I am finding more places, even in the US, are talking pre- and post-arrival testing and quarantines. With these things looming, and the additional concerns of new strains being discovered, it is extremely difficult for me to get very excited about even looking at flights let alone actually booking one. I won’t let it get me down and I will keep looking. There are still a couple of big U.S. cities I would like to go visit but I have big reservations about doing that since I travel to cities to explore and try the local foods. On top of that, I don’t feel safe with all of the nonsense going on and that is also a problem for me wanting to go on long road trips. I will get something booked before my vouchers expire.

That’s about all for this update. Forgot to send it before I passed out last night!

December 8th, 2020

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

It was a leisurely yet productive weekend. I have gotten things done on the computer that I needed to do; updating some more accounts and printing/sending off forms, yet I still had time for some hikes with the dog. It has been too beautiful to not take advantage of that and the exercise is always good for us both. Another eye post-op appointment in a couple of weeks and my calendar will be clear (at least that’s how it is for now…always subject to change, of course).

I have been cooking stuff and putting it in prep containers. Last night I boiled up some chicken thighs and portioned it out to freeze. I can take one of the containers out, heat it up with some additional water and some soup base from a jar. I can then make some homestyle soup or some chicken and dumplings. Today I made up and froze some Sloppy Joes. I don’t know if I can put anything else in the freezer but I will shuffle things around to see what I can do. This is definitely one of the things I missed about being in the trailer.

Tomorrow is laundry day since I will be down to my last change of clothes in the morning. I have to go to the laundromat early to do that and avoid the crowds. I will start my clothes washing and then maybe pay them to dry and fold so I can go do other stuff. They used to offer that service and I will gladly pay for it since it is really not that much. I have to go over to my old storage unit and move out of it, then take that stuff, along with some other things, to the new (and cheaper) storage unit. Now that I am back in a house I don’t need a heated storage unit.

It has been a week now that I have been out of the trailer and it has been so nice to be in a house again after six months. Traveling with it is one thing, but actually living in a 15′ trailer is challenging. It is fun to travel with; it is so easy to maneuver, I can take it in places where bigger trailers are not allowed, I have more options of sites it will fit in…just some of the plusses for travel. Staying put and living in it is another story. They are not made for that unless you get a huge trailer and that is not going to be happening.

I really hope to get some form of travel in soon but it is looking grim with the ‘rona escalating to even more epic proportions and no end in sight. I am starting to think about some local options when I can get the trailer out again. With the weather that may be a while yet, but it also gives me time to see how the pandemic progresses. I am much more concerned about that than the weather. Since travel is my thing I always think about it so looking at ideas is nothing new; not being able to go is new, but we do what we have to do.

For now I am happy just to pack up some snacks and take a drive to get out of the house for the day. It may not seem like much to some people, but it is a change of scenery and an escape from the rampant stupidity that is going on. Living here there is a wide variety of places to go and things to see and do away from the masses as long as you avoid weekends and holidays.

I could do a trip and stay in a hotel – I got over some of that fear on the trip I took over here some weeks back – but I am staying away from them for now so the trailer is the only viable option I will consider other than a daytrip someplace. It would also mean going to get takeaway at restaurants as well so even more exposure. I have had to go into more places than I have wanted to lately since I moved but I have needed to buy things. I still spend as little time as possible in any crowded place and traveling is no exception.

I would really like to do a multi-day Amtrak trip at some point. They seem to be reasonably safe if you spring the extra money for a roomette and keep to yourself in it. I like trains and train travel and the last trip to Vancouver, BC was scenic and fun and I have been on several in Europe. I would really like to do the Coast Starlight train down into California in the future when it is safer to go visit places. I’d have to board the dog but I would not be gone more than a few days. For me it would be more about the journey but I am always open for options (as one who travels should be…).

Of course Europe is always on the list but is closed to US passports for now. I almost seriously considered getting a ticket for next year with my airline miles when the pandemic started to calm down over there a bit. Airlines were doing no change/cancellation fees and that made it tempting with sone of the fares I have seen. With everything going on I wasn’t sure how things would work if I used miles and wanted/needed to cancel or change the flight and I had other priorities than to find out details. I can look into it now that things are calming down personally and I have the time to do it but no hurry. Now things are heating up again everywhere with the ‘rona so who knows when we will be able to go anywhere, be it far away and exotic or close by.

Speaking of travel, I have gotten a few new e-mails about cheap/discounted airfares. The website I use is having a contest for up to $1000 for you and a friend to go on vacation. If you might be interested, click here before December 11th, 2020. If you sign up on there I also get an entry. No pressure…just an FYI to pass along. I get nothing out of it other than an extra sweepstakes entry. Unless you want to take me on the trip with you!

It was another early morning (before 6:00 A.M.) and perhaps my days of sleeping in until after 8:00 A.M. are over for now. It is not getting light until after 7:00 so it’s coffee and a sunrise. I have said before I like getting up early but I like staying up late too.

I think I like getting up early better these days so that’s about it for tonight.

Thanks for reading my blog! Be safe and stay well. It’s all about the science.

November 22nd, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Scotty Hilander, Uncategorized

Apparently, the sealant over the crack in my shower floorpan came loose today. I happened to see it was wet from under the wall after I took a shower this morning and stepped out. I got some clear Flex Tape for a temp fix to work on tomorrow, but it looks like I’ll be taking the shower apart to fix it very soon. I don’t really want to put that stuff on there but I cannot have it leaking. At least it is clear, and maybe it will come off with a heat gun and some Goo Gone.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know. I shoulda done it this summer. I can’t really do it while I am staying in it so that is the issue. Now that I’ll be getting into a place I can focus on getting that done since it won’t interfere with daily life. I imagine the door has to come off the toilet and another one near the floor will as well. Pull out the toilet fixture, take the wall panels and fixtures off, pull the pan out and fix it with fiberglass, then add supports in the floor and re-assemble it. No, I have not been real excited about doing this (I think I summed up why) but it will definitely need to get done before I take it out on another trip. I just remembered I am going to have to buy a new cover for the trailer.

I went to Costco today and got my hearing aids. It’s so good to be able to hear better again. I am going to have to go back tomorrow for them to have a look at the fit of my hearing aids, though. One side doesn’t seem to be positioned correctly inside my ear and it is affecting everything in that ear quite a bit. It really doesn’t feel or sound right. This happened to me before so I am not surprised. These are a different brand so I have some things to get used to, but this is definitely not correct. I think it’s one of two things so I will find out hopefully tomorrow.

I had the dog with me but locked him up in his crate in the back seat while I was inside the store. I let him out of prison so we could leave and he hopped into the front and just went stark-raving mad. He was so excited it was like we had not seen each other in a year. He was jumping around, bouncing off the seats and me and trying to play. I looked over out the window beyond the dog and the woman in the car two spaces over was staring at us. Then when she saw the dog going nuts she started laughing while telling the guy in the car to look. She was cracking up, I was cracking up, and Rider was just having a big time for several minutes’-worth of laughs. It was very entertaining for everyone.

I just cannot get over this vision thing! This is so much better than what I was expecting. I still need to get readers to read up close, but I think it is a good tradeoff. No, it is actually AWESOME!!! I’ll see what they say Wednesday but I think the healing is going good and the weird things are getting better.

As soon as things calm down a bit more I will be contacting an upholstery shop I found to ask them about the supplies for me to re-do my cushions or maybe the shop re-doing them. They are really getting bad in a couple of spots – mashed down and staying that way. Not much cushion whatsoever so they need new foam rubber. There are a few RV shops around so they may also be able to give me ideas on what to use, what’s popular, what wears best, etc. I can get by for now (shower is the priority), but sometimes winter months are slow, and with the ‘rona going on they might be needing some business and cut some deals.

It’s getting close to time I need to be ordering coffee pods for the Nespresso. Now that I understand it better and know what I want (I really like all but one of the coffees they have that I have tasted) I’ll be better prepared with some knowledge on how much to get of what. I know they have several new ones out but many of those are seasonal things like peppermint or that pumpkin-spice garbage. Last time I got 120 pods, but it doesn’t store as easily as a canister of coffee that makes twice that much so that took up some room. Once I get settled into the studio, though, I won’t have to worry so much about room.

Other than checking on getting my hearing aids adjusted, no other plans until my cataract appointment then the holidays. I got the stuff for my feast today. I am not much for turkey, but I do like to have some turkey, dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce (the jiggly one – not the chunky one) two or three times a year. I might go just absolutely berserk and have mashed potatoes too. Having a real kitchen again is one exciting thing about having a place to live. I’ll be able to really cook again. I have lots of new things I want to make but it takes room to spread out and cook, plus a regular fridge and freezer helps too. Unfortunately much of my kitchen stuff is all in Montana so I’ll be making-do with what I have in the trailer until I can get there. It’ll be fine.

That’s about it for this post. Until next time…

November 13th, 2020

Adventure, Just things, Music, Outdoors, pictures, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

Outside my door…this view certainly doesn’t suck!

I finally got to where I was headed. The weather cut me a break for a day on Wednesday, which was what I was planning on, so I made a run for it. It’s a good thing as that was the only day it was okay to travel. There have been snowstorms before and after so the timing was perfect. Glad to be far away from that nonsense.

I got things set up and found a heated storage unit close by so my extra groceries don’t freeze. I try to keep stocked up on things like canned goods same as I would if I had a house – I just have to store them elsewhere. It also helps keep things like repair stuff (tape, caulking, etc.) from freezing as well. It’s nice to have all the stuff out of the truck and trailer and I can have room to move around now. Plus, the extra weight in the truck doesn’t help with the already low gas mileage.

I’ll be looking into re-doing the cushions in the trailer pretty soon. They are starting to break down and need new foam; on top of use, it is also 13 years old and foam doesn’t last forever. I can do this myself if the covers are still in good shape and they look to be fine. It will be pretty nice to have new, comfortable cushions to sleep on!

I did replace the roof vent covers and sewer valve before I left. I had decent weather and the time to do it so I got it out of the way. The sewer tank was empty so it was the perfect time to do that before I started using it again. It’s less stuff to haul around too. With it being windy today I notice it is much quieter with the new vent covers installed. It may even be a bit warmer too as I did notice a few days ago when it was so cold that the heat came on a little less frequently.

It’s odd to be sitting still again and not being at Meghan’s house . I will be stationary for a while probably, avoiding pandemic hot spots and winter driving with a trailer. Now that I am not quite as hesitant to stay in a hotel if I need to go someplace I can still go; I’ll just grab the cleaning stuff, the dog and my suitcase and head out. But I will be doing that sparingly.

It feels like I should be doing something but I have most everything done I needed to do so I guess I will just need to relax! I need to go set up a hearing aid appointment and grab a few things but I think I will wait since it’s Friday and the stores will be pretty busy. That’s fine since I have plenty of time.

I might even find time to take a nap today!

November 9, 2020

Adventure, Just things, pictures, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

It has been a sleepless few days. Bright lights all around and train tracks across the street from the repair shop. Sunday night was tough. I’m not sure why my trailer battery doesn’t seem to charge but at 3:00 a.m. I woke up pretty damn cold – probably in the mid-20s F inside the trailer. The battery ran out of juice so no furnace. I got up and had to go out and try to charge it from the truck. I just replaced the trailer battery but no idea how long it’s been since it’s had a full charge.

An hour’s worth of charging and I got one cycle of heat. Then it went dead again so I said “well, okay then” and slept cold for about 90 minutes. I said something else along the same line as before (actually it was “F THIS”) and got up out of bed to go get coffee and something warm to eat.

I went for a drive to kill some time while waiting for my trailer. I decided to go to Roslyn, the shooting location of Northern Exposure. Great show if you’ve never seen it but you gotta like quirky. I was here maybe thirty years ago and mostly it looked the same. It is a cool old mountain town on the Historic Register. I did niot get out and walk since most everything was closed still so I went back to check on the repair.

Trailer was repaired right before noon and they asked about checking the other side. I said I had thought about it and it’s a good idea so go for it. He said the other bearings were fine and now freshly repacked. I am glad to be getting it done for peace of mind.

Getting a late start as the days get shorter is not good. Too many deer on the roads and I don’t really want to drive at night. I opted to come back to the campground I was in a few days ago and will leave earlier tomorrow morning after the frost clears. It’ll be nice to have some time to regroup and not be rushed.

I had to buy a heated water hose to keep water flowing into the trailer. I’ll need it in other places anyway so now seemed like the time to buy it since it may get cold tonight. I won’t be getting cold though!!! Got electricity so the electric heater is plugged in. Plus I did find my electric blanket right before I left and that is pretty awesome to have with the nights getting cold.

As for now, it’s a double espresso of Sumatra coffee, then a cup of dark (or as they say “Intenso”) and some relaxing in the warmth after a couple of interesting days. Might even kick off my shoes.

I got a few bundles of firewood to have a fire later tonight and an obligatory adult beverage or two. Then a nice, albeit abrupt, hot shower before crawling into my preheated bed. That sounds awesome.

You can’t look away…

It’s a really good night for a fire. It’s 32° F and some clouds to hopefully hold some heat on the earth tonight. The fire pit is an old heavy truck wheel so it really heats up and dissipates the heat nicely. The wind is a little breezy and at 32° it is chilling.

I discovered earlier that instead of a carton of pineapple passion fruit cider I actually bought a carton of seltzer. Never really been a big seltzer person but I gave it a try. As expected, it was nasty – tastes like that “go-juice” you have to drink a gallon of the night before a colonoscopy.

Fire is going out. Looks like it’s time for bed. Been a long day and I am tired.