Life · politics · Presidential

Screaming Into the Tweetosphere

This is twice now President has blindly parroted a web site. First, he says he saw the story about “what happened in Sweden Friday” on Fox News. He didn’t, but let’s go with that excuse. Now, he’s tweeted a totally baseless Breitbart story about Obama wiretapping Trump Tower. I’m not sure he understands what it means to be President of the United States. If the President makes an accusation like this, it warrants a special investigation. That will cost millions of dollars. The man who promised to cut the Federal budget, blindly blathers on about election fraud and wire tapping, inviting a multi-million dollar investigation.

So what is he up to? What’s going on inside the hamster wheel he calls a brain? Here are the possibilities.

  1. He has no clue what the office of the President is and has no idea how to execute his duties. He doesn’t understand restraint and measured words to keep the government sound and not waste money and manpower.
  2. He does understand the power of his position and he’s doing these things maliciously. That is the sign of a maniac or some other mental illness. Normal people don’t try to throw the country into a panic for nothing.
  3. He’s trying to detract from other news stories. This could be a subplot to any other reason, but it seems anytime Russia’s ties to this administration start creeping onto the front page, another outlandish tweet is fired from the President’s unsecured phone.
  4. He’s just round-the-barn-and-up-the-tree insane. If this is the case, he believes his own fabrications and alt-right news sites. His tweets are just that of a conspiracy nut parroting the stories that support his confirmation bias.
  5. What he is tweeting is true. This seems unlikely since most of his statements, when researched, are proven false.

None of these are preferable options. If these things are true, it is best to use the Presidency to structure an investigation, not fire blindly into the tweetosphere. If he’s insane, he needs to be removed from office before he damages the country further. If he’s distracting us from Russia, he’s trying to cover his own treason. If he understands the power of his office, he’s being an evil, vindictive, man who is trying to further divide the country no matter how much he talks about healing and bipartisanship. If he is clueless, he is dangerous to the security of the United States.

Which do you think it is or do you have your own theory? Discuss.

camping · Life · RVing · travel · winter

Winter Camping? You can do ‘et!

I did a terrible job on our last outing. I didn’t make one video or take any photos. But, in my defense, it was a working vacation in January. By the time I got back to camp from work, there was no sun and outdoor activities were curtailed by the cold. There’s a lot of back story, so bear with me.

It all started on January 5th when I got my layoff notice. To maximize my job prospects, we decided we could be semi-relocatable by hauling the camper to a new job location. We’ve camped during every season except winter, so we thought we should give winter camping a try to see if it was going to be bearable.

To complicate matters, I had little vacation time built up and needed to save every hour because the company will pay me for any vacation hours left when my termination date finally comes. So I had to work. The obvious choice was Monte Sano State Park just 30 minutes from our house. Work is situated between the house and the park, so the commute was about the same. It helped that the AL park system is running a winter special where Monday thru Thursday was 25% off the regular rate. We booked Sunday to Sunday for the last week of January slash first week of February, and set camp on a full-hookup site, number 11.

We learned much about winter camping. First, I found a great, local place to get my propane tanks refilled. If you shopping for an RV, try to get one with two propane tanks. This allows you to take one in for a refill without disrupting anything. Also, only run one tank at a time so you don’t run them out simultaneously.

Two, plastic gets very brittle in the cold. I broke the ears off the gray tank valve handle and the discharge cap’s bayonet by being a little aggressive. OK, I was just heavy-handed and clumsy. We also lost a brand-new water filter when the temps dropped below freezing on Saturday. The external hose was frozen until about 10 AM when the sun finally thawed things out. That’s when the filter exploded and sprayed everywhere. It’s OK. I ordered 4 the last time we bought filters. Always have a spare and drip the faucets if possible when a freeze is coming.

Three, if we do have to full-time it in the winter, I’m going to need cologne. Getting out of the shower is down right painful when it’s near freezing and the exhaust fan is running. I’d probably only shower every other day (or less) if we were wintering in cold weather.

Four, we can stay pretty comfortable with just a space heater. We did fire up the propane central heater when we first got to camp, just to get it up to tolerable temperature, but after that initial 30 minutes, the space heater is all we ran for the duration of the trip. It’s a columnar model like the fan we bought. It has a small footprint. Puts out decent heat. Has a thermostat to regulate the temperature. And I got it for $20 from a neighbor. Score!

In the end, I got a replacement handle for the gray tank valve and a new discharge cap. Oh, and this was the first time we got to sleep on the new memory foam mattress we put in a few months back. If I’d known a layoff was coming, I probably wouldn’t have spent the $170, but we’re both so glad we did. The OEM mattress was useless at best and painful at worst. The new one is fantastic. Maybe it’s just fantastic in comparison to the old one, but we slept like the dead on it.

We determined that we can live in the camper for extended periods, in any weather. I don’t think we’re up to full timing it, but 4 to 8 week runs are certainly within the realm of reality. Hopefully, we don’t have to relocate. I’m trying hard to find a job here. I have until the end of April, then who knows?

Blogroll · Life · society

Laws That Belong in the Toilet

Until about a month ago, no one had any problems using a public toilet. Today, a significant majority of our population is literally scared shitless. There have been no reports of rampant attacks by transgender or non-binary people in public restrooms. Still, our politicians have managed to manufacture a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist and sell us the fear behind the salvation of their new laws. Here’s everything wrong with “using the restroom of your birth gender” laws.

It doesn’t solve a non-existent problem
No one is reporting attacks in restrooms. Your children are in no more danger today than they were this time last year. Were you even thinking about this last year. No? When did this become a big concern for you? Oh, right, in just the last few weeks since the lawmakers told you it was a huge problem. Starting to see a pattern here?

It creates problems instead of solving them
It is highly probable that a male-to-female transgender, forced to use a men’s room, will face physical violence from homo/trans-phobic men. This is a much more likely scenario than a pedophile dressed as a women using a public restroom as the location for a complicated, very public kidnapping plot. These laws actually increase the likelihood of crime. They don’t reduce it.

The law doesn’t match the intent
The politicians assure us that these laws are to protect our daughters, wives, and mothers. And I call shenanigans. If these were laws to curtail sexual predators, they would target sexual predators in their language. The language of these bills and laws is totally focused on transgender people, who have a very, very, very, low probability, yea, insignificant history of, sexual predatory behavior. A glaring omission in the laws is how it protects our sons and brothers from male pedophiles which make up a larger percentage of the population than transgenders. There’s no protection under these laws. If you’re worried about your daughter’s safety, the possibility of her being attacked by a cross-dressing pervert is the same with or without these laws. How practical is it to chase a woman if you are wearing heals and a dress anyway?

The law offers impractical solutions
Even if the problem the politicians have scared their homophobic voter base into believing did exist, the wording of these laws make them unenforceable. There’s no money to hire restroom attendants with police powers. There’s no money to station police outside restrooms to check ID and birth certificates. Even if we did manage to police all public restrooms, who would the victim be? Does someone quietly taking a whiz in the stall next to you ladies rattle you so much that your own stream freezes and you get kidney disease from holding it? That would be about the only way someone breaking this law could be prosecuted because using the wrong restroom isn’t a criminal offense. Under these poorly worded laws, it is a civil offense. It would be up to the injured party to press charges. So unless you can prove you were harmed by the hermaphrodite’s dump, these laws are powerless to protect you. About the best you can hope for are more courtesy flushes.

The law offers no alternatives
If this was really such a huge concern, then building codes should be changed to specify single-unit restrooms with locking doors in all public facilities. I call it the Thunderdome code; one man enters; one man leaves (the fan on hopefully).

They’re laughing at you
Politicians know that we have become a country of partisan cowards. We fear everything. We analyze nothing. We react on impulse. We don’t understand statistics. They know this and manufacture these situations so they can be the shining knights riding in to save us from the dastardly “others” who don’t look like us, speak like us, or dress like us. This keeps them in power and money while we live in faux fear of anything that smells slightly foreign. If you support these ridiculous toilet laws, you need to remember the new terror slogan: “If you smell something, say something.” I hope they’re hiring more 911 operators to field all the “suspicious deuce” calls that are going to flood in.

2nd Amendment · freedom · guns

Inside the Mind of a Gun Owner

Gun control. It’s one of those polarizing issues where people on either side of the debate have little tolerance for the other side’s opinions or arguments. I’ve discovered that this is mostly due to a lack of understanding of the motivations behind the stance taken. Many assumptions are made and little listening is done. I often equate the reason I carry to the same reason I have fire extinguishers in my home, car, and camper. A gun, like a fire extinguisher, is a safety tool. It’s a tool I have and hope to never use. I don’t go around starting fires just so I can deploy my fire extinguisher. Likewise, I don’t create situations where using my sidearm is necessary.

One of my Facebook friends, and a man I know IRL, explained it this way: “I carry for my and my daughter’s protection only. I’m not John Wayne. I also carry medical for the same reason. I’m no Dr but I can save a life with the items I carry. Both are tools and I am very proficient with them all.” This is how most gun owners think. The gun is a tool that we hope to never use. Even the most stanch anti-gun person has a first-aid kit in their home or car. They don’t go around injuring people just so they can whip out their kit and say, “Finally, I get to use this thing!”

Unfortunately, many anti-gun people assume gun owners are just itching to use their guns. Another one of my Facebook friends made that assumption with this comment “The self-importance of gun-totting potential ‘saviors’ of lives is on an ego level I simply can’t fathom….” He really thinks that gun owners are all some sort of egotistical Rambo looking for any excuse to draw their gun in a crowd.

This is not the way most gun owners think. Nothing I signed when I bought my guns said anything about being a hero or protecting everyone in a 500 meter radius. I’m not a sheepdog protecting the sheep. The sheepdog mentality is reserved for cops (though they rarely protect and mostly show up after the fact). My gun protects me and my loved ones. My practical philosophy is that if you want protection, get your own gun. My gun is not there for you to use. It is under my control and these are the rules under which I operate.

My rules for carrying a gun (aka real gun control):

  1. Carry your gun. A loaded gun in your nightstand does nothing for you when you’re 10 miles away from home.
  2. Carry your gun loaded. An unloaded gun is nothing more than a club.
    • Corollary: A gun is not a bluff. Though showing a gun may deter an attack, never draw the weapon unless firing the weapon is necessary and you are willing to do it.
  3. Carry your gun in a holster with a trigger guard. Holsterless carry is done only in the movies. Even pocket carry requires a holster.
  4. Know your gun. Be familiar with the manual of arms for your weapon and practice not only shooting, but loading, unloading, safetying, etc.
  5. Know the law. Be familiar with the laws of your state and states you visit. is a good resource.
  6. Maintain control of your weapon. Know where your gun is and the state of the gun at all times (e.g. loaded, safety, etc.)
    • Corollary: Treat a gun as loaded until your can personally verify it is not.
    • Corollary: Do not fidget with your gun in public. There is no need to constantly touch your gun. This is just a signal to others that you are wearing a gun and it’s none of their business.
  7. Alcohol and guns don’t mix. Guns make terrible stir-sticks and the gun oil spoils a good bourbon.
    • Corollary: Don’t buy gun-shaped novelty items. Nothing says, “Idiot!” like grabbing a real gun when you think it’s a novelty cigarette lighter.
  8. Draw your weapon for a purpose. The only reason a gun comes out of its holster is to protect life. Period.

The responsibility for owning and carrying a firearm goes beyond being able to point the barrel and pull the trigger. It requires a level of situational awareness that most people are unwilling to maintain. It requires keeping your head up and your eyes and ears open. If you stumble into a deadly situation due to your own inattentiveness, you have failed as a responsible gun owner. So before you can apply Rule #8, you have to constantly assess the following:

  1. Can this situation be avoided? If yes, avoid it. Drive/walk/run the other way.
  2. Can I remove myself (and others if possible/necessary) from this situation? If so, get out. Make it unnecessary to use your weapon.
  3. Can this situation be de-escalated? Can you talk your way out? Words are better than bullets and cost less, too. Have you priced ammo lately? Only cops are stupid enough to escalate the violence of a situation where it is unnecessary.
  4. Is the target clear? Know what is beyond/behind the target. Harming the innocent does nothing to stop the threat. If you don’t have a clear shot, don’t take it.
  5. Is deadly force necessary or does the threat level require deadly force? If a life isn’t in immediate danger, leave your weapon holstered.
  6. Are you ready and willing for the consequences of your actions? A shooting will involve police, paperwork, investigation, interrogation, and possibly your arrest, a lawyer, legal fees, and a lengthy legal entanglement. Beyond the willingness to protect a life by using your weapon, you must be ready for what follows. Many anti-gun people say all gun owners should be required to carry liability insurance and that’s not a bad idea. Consider getting insurance that would cover bail, legal fees, and liability.

This was my attempt to codify how I (and others) view their responsibilities of gun ownership and carry. Why we carry is the core of our belief that real gun control is self-control. A view inside the mind of a responsible gun owner is worth more than all the memes and jingoism either side can spew out. Trading jabs in some internet forum does nothing to change anyone’s mind, but an honest assessment of one’s reasons and logic will give the other side something substantive to consider.

Regardless of your side of the argument, I’d like to know your thoughts. If they go beyond the rote “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” or “Your gun is just compensation for your small penis,” (which in my case is only partially true), I’d like to discuss them in the comments below. In the meantime, keep chasing the odd, little happy, but don’t shoot it if you find it.

Blogroll · home improvement · home repair · homeowner

D-Bag of 2015 Goes To…

When my eldest moved out of the mobile home we own just a couple of miles from our house, I took over the responsibilities for it. I did some remodeling and helped my youngest move in. Part of the transition was getting insurance, so I called my Allstate agent. Allstate doesn’t insure mobile homes, so they shopped around and farmed the coverage out to American Modern Insurance (@AmericanModIns). As of November 2015, things were great. They even sent someone out to ask about smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and to take a few photos.

Jump forward to 17 December 2015. New flooring, paint, and tenant are installed, then a letter comes. AMI informs me that as of 27 December 2015, they are cancelling my policy due to “rust on the roof.” They essentially gave me 9 days notice and said nothing about remediating the problem. Nine days before Christmas to either hire someone or fix it myself. Sounds like an impossible task? Well, it is. There’s no one available on that short notice the week of Christmas and December offers exactly zero hours of sunlight after a day job to do any kind of outdoor repairs. The entire thing is just a cosmetic issue anyway. There are no holes in the roof. It will take a lot of sanding and then a couple of coats of a rust-resistent paint, but that isn’t going to happen at Christmastime.

As of now, I have no insurance on our mobile home. I will get the cosmetics updated and re-apply for coverage, but with one stipulation. I will exclude American Modern Insurance from my list of companies to consider. I’m fully convinced Charles Dickens owned a time machine, came forward in time, made notes about AMI, and based his Mr. Scrooge character on their company. Cancelling a policy at Christmas with little time to rectify the situation, is just a low blow. Hopefully, they refund the balance of the premium that I paid 12 months in advance so I can put the money towards supplies to remove the rust and paint the roof.

The unanimous winner of my douchebag move of the year, 2015, goes to American Modern Insurance whose new jiggle should include the lyrics, “Piss on your Christmas and piss on you, too!”

Remember, legal isn’t necessarily ethical, moral, or kind so keep chasing the odd, little happy where you can find it.

DIY · home improvement · home repair

Adding a Shutoff Valve to a Mobile Home Toilet

Part of retiling the master bath in our mobile home required removing the toilet. When I put it back in place, Murphy’s Law kicked in and of course it was leaking from behind the nut on the supply line at the tank inlet. Since none of the plumbing fixtures, like most mobile homes, have shutoff valves, a leak or repair requires the water main be turned off. This cuts the water to the entire trailer. It’s a bother. I devised a plan to not only repair the leaky toilet, but install a shutoff valve. It’s easy, requires only two parts, and takes less than 20 minutes.

If you have standard 1/2″ flexible piping, you’ll need a 1/2″x5/8″ compression-fitted shutoff valve (~$9.00)

Compression valve.
Compression valve.

and a standard 3/8″ toilet tank supply line  (~$4.50).

Standard toilet supply line.
Standard toilet supply line.

If you don’t have any pipe tape, you’ll need to grab some of that when getting your other parts. For tools you simply need a sharp knife or heavy shears, a crescent wrench, and a rag or paper towels. The rags are optional, but you will spill water and need to mop it up somehow.

  1. Shut off the water main. (see below if you’re not sure which position is off.)
  2. Flush the toilet and soak up the little water left in the tank. If there’s a lot, use a cup to empty it into the bowl.
  3. Disconnect the tank supply line by unscrewing the nut at the base of the tank. A little water is still going to be in the pipe, but it won’t be under pressure.
  4. With your knife or shears cut the 1/2″ supply line below the existing nut. Get your cut as straight as possible and be sure to leave enough pipe to work with. Hint: You can leave it long and push it back into the floor to shorten it when you’re all done.
  5. Insert the supply line into the 5/8″ (larger) side of the shutoff valve and hand tighten.
  6. Loosen the nut you just tightened and remove the valve.
  7. When the nut slides down the supply hose, you will see the compression ring stuck on the hose about an inch from the end. If you don’t see the ring, pull the nut back up and reconnect the valve. This time, tighten it about a half-turn with your wrench, then remove it.
  8. Wrap the compression ring and the end of the supply line with pipe tape. Don’t skip this step!
  9. Reattach the shutoff valve and tighten the nut tightly using your crescent wrench. You’ll need to hold the valve to tighten it well.
  10. Turn the valve handle perpendicular (crossways) to the valve and turn the water main back on to check for leaks. (If it’s leaking, you probably didn’t put on the pipe tape like I told you in step 8.)
  11. If it’s not leaking, remove the small nut and compression ring from the other end of the valve. You won’t need them.
  12. Wrap the threads of the valve outlet (the end where you just removed the small nut) with pipe tape.
  13. Screw the new, standard 3/8″ supply line onto the valve.
  14. Screw the other end of the new line onto the tank’s inlet.
  15. Open the valve by turning the handle 1/4 turn so it is inline with the valve.
  16. Check for leaks.
  17. Listen to the tank fill while you clean up the little bit of water that spilled out of the supply line when you disconnected it to start all this.

If you don’t know how valves work, just remember that turning the valve handle so it crosses the pipe (perpendicular) closes the valve. Think of it as a dam across a river. Turning it parallel to the pipe opens the valve. Take this opportunity to put caulk in the hole where the supply line comes in.

Whether you’re doing this to fix a leak or just to add a shutoff valve to your toilet, you’ll find it’s a quick, easy, inexpensive fix.

Newly installed toilet tank hose and shutoff valve.
Newly installed toilet tank hose and shutoff valve.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

camping · holiday · RVing · travel

Camping Adventure 4.0 and 4.5: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Our last adventure is in the book. We did something we haven’t done in a long time…take a full week off. Nine straight days of traveling, relaxing, shopping, and a little yard work thrown in to keep me grounded. We parked the rig at Harrison Bay State Park, just east of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It happens to be about 15 minutes from the park to my mother-in-law’s house, which was the real purpose for picking that location and where the yard work came in. For the cost of one night in a nice hotel, we got to stay for a week at Harrison Bay. I shot some video of the 3 RV campgrounds at the park (Campground A, Campground B, Campground C) and rattled on about some of park amenities while shooting.

Once our time was up, we hauled the trailer down the road to Shar’s mom’s house and I somehow got it backed down a very long driveway, through an 11-foot-wide gate, and parked it perfectly at the end of the driveway in the backyard. I dropped the trailer and headed back home and back to work while Shar stayed another week.

This was only possible because of three improvements we made. First, I repossessed a 10-gauge extension cord from my oldest daughter. That gave us enough juice to run the AC on just 20A/120V household current. Second, there are no dump stations between my mother’s-in-law house and our house so I ordered a Valterra Sewer Solution which was waiting on the stoop when we got back. After a tip to Lowe’s for some 1-inch PVC pipe and fittings, I assembled and extension to connect the Sewer Solution to our house sewer connection. 15 minutes later, the black tank was empty. One back flush later, it was almost as clean as the day it was installed.

The third improvement was a simple oil change for the truck. We’re pushing the tow limit of our F-150 with just the trailer and our stuff. Having a week’s worth of black tank to haul was going to be a challenge. Prior to leaving, I had a high-mileage, all-synthetic, 5W-20 motor oil put in the engine. It made a huge difference in the towing performance. On trip number 3, I was revving at 2900rpm in 4th gear to stay at 60mph. On this outing, we slipped over to 5th gear with ease and even 6th gear, once or twice. Doing 65mph was no problem and hills were much easier to climb. If you’re doing any kind of towing, I highly recommend you run a good oil and have it changed to keep up with your towing habits, not just at the standard mileage recommendation.

Camping buddy Shakespeare is a fan of glamping.
Camping buddy Shakespeare is a fan of glamping.

So adventure 4 and 4.5 are done. November is lined-up with lots of work on our mobile home to get it ready for the youngest to move in. The oldest daughter has had it for 5 years now and they’re moving 2 hours away for her husband’s job. There is carpet to pull and new flooring to put down. Pray for my back and knees. Adventure 5 isn’t planned, yet, but it will probably be in the late Winter or early Spring.

In the meantime,
Camp safe & keep chasing the odd, little happy.

Household · Life

This Is Why I Need Medication

I wanted to write a post about our recent stay at Harrison Bay State Park near Chattanooga, Tennessee. We had a lovely time, but the write-up will have to wait because I had to deal with the local utility company today. This is why I take blood pressure medicine.

Essentially, I needed to have a utility bill forwarded. My daughter and son-in-law are moving to a town a couple hours away and leaving our mobile home empty. I wanted to transfer the account and have the bill sent to my house so there wouldn’t be a break in service. There’s some work to do before my other daughter moves into the trailer in December.

So I called Huntsville (Alabama) Utilities. After 12 minutes on hold, they informed me they can’t do that “over the phone,” but I can do it online. I set up web access to their site easily enough, only to discover there really isn’t an option to do what I need done. The closest thing is to use their “Move In” option. I get almost to the end of the handful of screens to discover they want my bank account information so they can charge me $70.

$70! That’s hella expensive mail forwarding. Plus, I had to lie on their form and say the breakers were all turned off. Their form assumes someone is going to actually connect service. This isn’t the case. No one has to do anything. Two computers simply need to talk to each other and change the name and billing address for the mobile home…and that costs 70 freakin’ US dollars!

I’m having anxiety about this whole deal, too. I just know some technician is going to show up and disconnect service at my house thinking I’m moving.

I told the guy on the phone, “It’s good to be a monopoly and not need to be responsive to your customer’s wants and needs.” No option to pay by credit card. Only bank drafts are accepted like it’s the Middle Ages. I guess I’m lucky there was even an online option and I didn’t have to schlep downtown and fill out a paper check or pay in beaver pelts and sexual favors, though, I do feel like I got screwed.

Ride 'em cowgirl style.
Ride ’em cowgirl style.

Thanks Huntsville Utilities for keeping Big Pharma in business. I have refills for my blood pressure meds waiting at the pharmacy and I’ll see my doctor about that rash. You should have yourself checkout, too. By law, I think you have to tell the next person you fuck that we’re sexually active, even though we’re obviously not exclusive, you promiscuous whore.

camping · travel

Camping Adventure 3: Lake Guntersville and Beyond

We got back from a 4-night stay at Lake Guntersville Alabama State Park about 4 hours ago. Coming back is always the most exhausting part of the trip. Not only do you have to dump, prep for travel, hitch up, and double-check that you didn’t leave anything behind, you have to do it all in a fairly short window. No taking a couple of days to pack like you do before leaving home. So I’m sore, tired, and still have to clean the camper, do the laundry, and make sure we’re ready for our next adventure.

Slow Moving Vehicle
Slow Moving Vehicle

We’ve already made plans for a week’s stay at Harrison Bay Tennessee State Park. It’s about 15 minutes from there to my mother’s-in-law house (that looks weird, but it is grammatically correct). She has a full house and no beds for company. Our visits up until now have always been long weekends because we had to get a hotel room or stay at a beautiful bed-and-breakfast called The Mayor’s Mansion. Don’t get me wrong. I love B-&-B’s, but they’re not economically feasible for an extended stay. Having the camper allows us to stay the week on the cheap. Most state parks are less than $30 per night and that includes water and electricity. Just one more reason we’re loving the RV life.

I’m still wishing we’d bought a larger truck. The F-150 we got just barely does the job. We have to watch our weight because, at 5,500 lbs. (~2,500 kg), the camper only gives us about 600 lbs. (272 kg.) of wiggle room before we are at the F-150’s maximum towing capacity of 6,100 lbs. (2,767 kg.) There’s no hope of driving with a full water tank for a boondocking adventure. It’s enough of a struggle to just get to the campground dump station when the black and gray tanks are full. When we go to Chattanooga, TN, we plan on shopping for food once we’re there. No since in weighing down the camper with food to haul since we’ll practically be in town.

Mountains are another issue. We did pretty well on Monte Sano Mountain and whatever the name of that mountain east of Guntersville is. The thing that concerns me is we stay in 4th gear at about 2,900 rpm just to do 60 mph (95 kph) on fairly level highways. If the truck ever kicks over to 5th gear, the best we can do is about 55 mph (88 kph). That’s going to take a toll on the engine and I’ll need to get more than the recommended service on the truck. Tackling the Appalachians and the base of Lookout Mountain will be interesting, to say the least, especially since everyone on I-24 drives at eleventy-bazzillion miles per hour (I’m unsure what that is in metric). I think I should get a “slow moving vehicle” triangle for the camper. Not that it would keep the 18-wheelers off our tail. When they pass, they rock your world, literally.

We’re getting better and better at chasing the odd, little happy.

P.S. We shot a couple of videos while at Lake Guntersville. Come by We’re Fixin’ To Camp on Youtube and check them out.

camping · RVing · travel

The New Adventure: Our New Travel Trailer

We’ve had the new trailer for a couple of months now. We’ve been out twice. Our maiden voyage was to a nearby Alabama state park, Monte Sano. While there, I did an outside walk-around video (opens in new tab/window) of the camper. To be thorough, it’s a Forest River Coachmen Apex 269RBSS.  The dinette and couch are on a 166″ slideout that gives us about 40″ more space when out. IMAG0834The kitchen is on what I call a half-slideout because it extends the range and refrigerator about 2 feet, giving us room to walk around the island sink. The only downside to this configuration is stealth camping is impossible. Stealth camping, for those who don’t know, is where you spend the night without setting up completely. You don’t extend the slideouts or hook up utilities. It’s handy when you just need to pull over for the night in a Walmart parking lot. (Yeah, most Walmarts allow this.) With our slideouts in, it’s impossible to get to the bathroom in the back of the trailer or even access the air conditioner controls.

After our second outing, where we spent a week at Joe Wheeler state park, we did an inside walk-thru video (opens in new tab/window). We originally only intended to spend  3 or 4 days at Wheeler while a new home air conditioner was installed, but we kept extending our stay until we were there for 8 days. I had to commute the 70 minutes to work every day, but enjoyed coming home to our new home each night, mostly because the camper has a great air conditioner and it was July in North Alabama.

Please enjoy the videos linked above. We set up a new Youtube channel called We’re Fixin’ to Camp to house the record of our new adventure. I’d be honored if you subscribed. We’re trying to make helpful videos like this one about the camping facilities at Joe Wheeler. We already have two more trips planned. One will be a long weekend at Lake Guntersville state park. The other will be a week-long visit to Harrison Bay (TN) state park which is near my mother’s-in-law house. She doesn’t have room for us so our hotel-room-on-wheels is the perfect solution. We know it’s clean and bed-bug-free.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy and if you’d like, chase it with us on our new adventure.