Palm Trees in southern Florida

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Laundry day!

Laundry is one of those things I don't really like "having" to do but I don't mind actually doing it, once I get started.

If I want clean clothes ...

Washer, 1 EA

Laundry seems like a silly thing to get excited about doesn't it? This is in Quartzsite Arizona.


This time I found the bag with my laundry soap, quarters & dryer sheets.

Double load washer, $2.50. Two dryers - three quarters each, and one more quarter later. I prefer the laundromats that take quarters over the ones you buy time on a card.

I used 2 driers

$7 for a shower, money well spent!  (This is the exciting part of this blog!!)
The $7 shower sign

The shower is clean, they have a clean towel & wash cloth, a tiny bar of soap and a bottle of baby shampoo... I use my soap & shampoo

 I'm vandwelling, wet wipes are my friend. I do have a rechargeable pump you set in a bucket with a long hose & a spray head that works ok, it's just not the same thing as a hot shower.

All you need!

Friday, December 4, 2015


Traveling south was fun. Visiting friends & relatives is always nice as are their views. 
Hood Canal view in Washington
Medford Oregon view

Lake Shasta CA, not nearly as low as in was in '77

I did notice that things have changed over the years, I can't drive as long as I used to!

Following Hwy 1 N of San Fran
Hwy 1 just N of San Francisco

Help Wanted signs on the ag inspection booths coming into Calif on I-5, a huge billboard on I-10 announcing that Riverside county was hiring sheriffs & numerous "Help Wanted" signs in Quartzsite Arizona.

I found a camp site just outside of Los Angeles in the Angeles National Forest from a POI list on my Garmin GPS that I downloaded. It's good to see the technology actually work.  

Not too long after I arrived a troop of Boy Scouts arrived, made me smile, I remembered those days. The trip through Los Angeles was uneventful but it was a Saturday too!

I saw the Salton Sea for the first time, pretty darn big!

I went to Slab City (3 miles from Niland Calif). It's infamous in some circles, a square mile of abandoned military base where people go to live.  The sign out front proclaims it the "The last Free place", it may be. 

From what I saw & the people I talked to it was nowhere near the dark stories I'd heard of it but it is a place with a lot of room to do what you want. I parked in a 'safe' looking area.

I saw sheriff patrols & a Border Patrol car come thru.

Just people living.. Shelter is what you made of it with no real rules, so is the rest of what you do in your busniess of living.

I saw tents, pallet buildings, people living in vans, cars & all shapes/sizes of RVs from the top of line new ones to the far end of line in the RV world. Solar everywhere!
Spaces marked off with painted tires, empty bottles, coils of razor wire, fences from pallets and places turned into compounds. 

I walked all over the place & had zero dog problems, there were lot's of dogs but I had no problems with them. 
All those dogs and no problems, that was unusual & it seems to be to be the norm in this place with no rules. 

Grass hut
Not really a tourist attraction once you get past Salivation Mountain and take a driving tour of the area & the people.

Slab City is a place you can go if you have nowhere else to be.

A 3 hour tour...

 I wanted to be a tourist so I went to Quartzsite. 
My camp 6 miles from town

Here in Quartzsite things are just starting. I watched the tents for the stores going up, I bought things I need from some tents that were already up or maybe never came down.

I camped in the desert with other "VanDwellers" in a "free area", we had a fine Thanksgiving dinner! 

The 'free area" is for 14 days then you have to move at least 25 miles to a different "free area" & you can't come back for another 2 weeks, or you can move to a "fee area".

My plan is to hang out at least until February. In January the big tent RV show happens as does a Vandweller gathering. It's cheap to live, the people are interesting and there is a lot to see in the area between the sales tents, flea market & the Snowbirds.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Museums & factories

The past week or so I saw the Spruce Goose and watched Leatherman tools being made.  All in all not a bad week.

The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum was a splendid place to visit! 
 Worth the drive to McMinnville, OR!

Where it all started (the Wright Brother's replica)

 I have to start by saying that the Spruce Goose is a really big airplane. Spruce or aluminum or even paper-mache, no matter, it's huge and it did fly!


A lot of different airplanes, including WW2 aircraft from the US, Great Britain, Germany & Japan. The first jet fighter even.
A LOT of airplanes!

If you like aircraft it's worth the stop, they even had a couple of aircraft painted in Coast Guard colors. After a career in Coast Guard aviation I'm partial to CG aircraft.

This was from before my time ('76-'97)

A rotor head I am intimately familiar with, on an earlier helo but the same MRH
I was impressed by the personal stories that were sprinkled throughout the aviation museum. A mannequin in a period uniform of some type with a single page story of a person who wore that uniform.

I really liked the slice of life stories

That was the aviation museum, the space museum was on the other side of the parking lot. Space capsules, rockets, a launch pad, an SR-72 and an X-15!
When I was a kid the X-15 was a big deal.


SR-71 on the ground
There are a large number of aircraft on display out side. My plan was to see them all after doing the inside, when I finished the rain was coming down in buckets so I didn't see the outside displays.

The Leatherman factory

I've always liked my Leatherman tool, got my first one around '88. When I heard the Leatherman factory gave tours I signed up!
You sign up at their retail store for the Wednesday or Thursday tours. It was interesting seeing the robots & the people & the raw materials. No photos allowed.

The retail store was worth a look if you are a fan of the tools, they have the older tools on display (I wish I could find that one I lost, I saw it on display) and the prototypes.

For what it's worth I had a Leatherman with a broken plier tip. At the store I was offered a new replacement (different model, mine was no longer made) right now or have mine repaired (6 weeks).
I took a new one. 
It does not have the ruler on the side, I did not notice that when I decided on the swap... my mistake.
The "Wingman"

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bitch bitch bitch

I'm still in Washington state, waiting for a family duty & the delivery of a package. It's been some kind of wet! Not warm anymore either, I've been wearing a sweatshirt AND a Gortex raincoat.
(I bought that Gortex raincoat when I started this venture, I thought a good rain coat was not a bad idea. That turned out to be a good decision.)

I am ready to head south, the weather in Quartzsite has been looking good!

The fuel prices are not bad either!

Complaining about the weather has always struck me as silly and I'm aware of that, however ....

It's never stopped me!

Trying to keep a blog current is a lot of work! It's days after I wrote this & I'm still in Washington but I'm on my way south!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A new baby!

My daughter had her baby! 8 pounds & 2 ounces of tiny healthy baby.

I had forgotten how small a newborn is and I'd forgotten how good it feels to hold a newborn baby!

Grandpa & Hayden

This week I'll finish up my obligations up here and I have been thinking about where to go and what to do...  beyond visiting my friends, relatives, kids & grandkids between here and Arizona.

It will be November next weekend, some place warmer & dryer is calling. As a friend pointed out I'm retired & don't have a timetable for getting to where ever it is I want to go.

Plus I have to replace my '87 Ford van so I've been thinking about that too. I'm leaning towards a Volkswagen again... I am a VW guy.

I'll have a much better idea of what I'm doing by next week!
I'm sure!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


I'm here in Washington at my daughter's for a small bit of time, I'm waiting for her baby so I really don't know how much time. 
Waiting for a baby is like that.  

Fall is here too, no doubt about it. I've been wearing long pants for a week now & I thought about shoes & socks once today.  In my book that means it's time to head south!

The leaves are starting to change

I do have time to think, one of my thoughts is about replacing my van. The engine uses a lot of oil & I have no idea show many miles are on it as the odometer rolls over to zero every 100,000 miles. 

It's a diesel so changing the engine is more than a bit pricey.

My current '87 Ford E250

I looked at the money available, what I'm doing with the van I have, what they have on the local craigslist and what "I" want.  

I have a confession to make, I'm a VW guy. I want another Volkswagen van.

My '87 Vanagon, sold years ago

I do have more room in my E250 than I would in a Vanagon, more power, more looking "normal" but I still keep thinking of a Vanagon. 
In the past when the "Volkswagen" thoughts get too much I end up looking for one.

I put an ad on craigslist to see if anyone wants to swap a Vanagon for my '87 E250 diesel powered van.

 It's a long shot but nothing ventured nothing gained!

Once I traded a Dodge pick up for a travel trailer, we were both happy with the deal. Another time I offered to trade a Jeep for a Vanagon but had no takers, I ended up selling the Jeep & used that money to buy a Vanagon, that '87 Vanagon in the photo.

It feels funny putting my home up for a trade....

Friday, October 16, 2015

Medical Miracles

Medical Miracles, everyday stuff to us now but they are still miracles.

I stubbed my toe, no big deal... then a week later it was a big deal, it was infected.

My medical is tied to the Army medical center in Washington, I go there or I go to a local ER. 

I was going back to this part of Washington anyway to watch my grandson while his mom has another baby (I like these grandpa duties!) so coming early to fix my toe was not that big a deal. 

So I drove back to Washington and went the ER at the base hospital (it was Sunday), they gave me antibiotics and I left. 
Three nights later I didn't wake my self up during the night by bumping my toe.  
A Miracle!

I'd say 50 years ago but no, penicillin saved me 55 years ago, so 100 years ago my infection would have been a different story.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rules for traveling

I didn't like my last blog, this is the first time that's happened. Lets try it again.

I spent years traveling from here to there, stopping for the 'giant ball of string' or to smell the roses was not part of the plan.

Since I retired I have tried to change 'how' I travel... Driving long distances & lot's of hours just does not happen any more but I still have to force myself to stop for the 'giant ball of string'.

I have grandpa duties at the end of this month watching my grandson while his mom has another!  After that I'm free to find better winter weather.

My plan is to head south visiting the rest of my kids, grand kids, my cousin & family, my sister and some old friends. Ending up in Quartzsite Arizona come January for all the RV stuff going on.

After that .... I feel obligated to mosey down to the navy RV facilities on Key West. Mosey because I'm "forcing" myself to travel slowly, but do I really have to?

Key West via the coast

In Memphis Tennessee there is a hamburger place where they deep fry them, I saw it on a cooking show & it really looked good.        Dryer's Deep Fried Burgers

I sit here telling myself I cannot just leave Quartzsite and boogie off to Memphis!

Key West via Memphis

Or can I?

I guess as long as my problems are of this nature things are not too bad....

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What will they think in 2,000 years?

I stopped at the Stonehenge full sized replica that sits on a bluff over looking the Columbia river in Maryhill Washington
Maryhill Washington

I wonder what people will think it was for in 2000 years?

If you're ever out that way there is a real pleasant state park on the Washington side and COE dispersed camping on both sides of the river up by the John Day dam.

John Day dam from the WA side

Some of the Oregon side COE dispersed camping

Dispersed area on the Washington side

There is a lot of space for camping. There is native fishing, trains, barges, windsurfers and other traffic to watch on the river.

Look for Rufus Oregon on your map