Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year's Reflections

Once a year, people celebrate the New Year.

For me, it's been a massive change in my life and my circumstances since last year.

Last year, i was in Michigan, struggling to keep enough propane on hand to keep me and the pups warm. I also had alternative heating on hand since I only had one propane tank and it usually ran out when propane filling stations were closed.

I dealt with blizzards and below zero temperatures in a 3 season trailer not hooked up to water or electric. I had plenty of hot coffee and hot food on hand, lots of blankets thanks to the generous people of grand rapids.

I left everyone I knew and traveled across the US to the southwestern desert.

I'm no longer spending $150 a month on propane and lamp fuel. The night time temperatures are higher now than the daily high temperatures i was dealing with up north. Water doesn't freeze in the bottle if the jug is left on the floor. I'm not risking frost bite daily if my gloves get wet.

I'm still broke most days. The van always seems to need something, old vans usually do.

My belly is full, I've books to read, people to talk to when i want. Life isn't so bad.

If you don't like how your life is, you can change it. I did.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cleaning In A Van Or A RV

Many of us choose to travel extensively or live full time in either a rv or a van. Space is at a premium.

So how do you live in micro space and still remain clean? It's easier than you think to have a clean environment inside and out.

The beauty of this way of cleaning is two-fold...things are cleaner and it's non toxic for the environment.

I learned this style of cleaning from my grandmother when I was young. Throw out those nasty chemicals with all the overpowering scents. Clean doesn't smell bad. There is no need for heavy odors to mask dirty spaces.

Three items will clean everything in your van or rv: vinegar, baking soda, and a good dishsoap.

Baking soda removes dirt, grime, grease. Simply wet the item to be cleaned, sprinkle baking soda on it, and use your fingers to scrub.

Add a handful of baking soda in the wash cycle of your laundry. Not only will your clothes be cleaner, but it also removes smell.

For those with sensitive skin, replace your soap and shampoo with baking soda. Both your skin and your hair will thank you.

Put vinegar in your laundry rinse cycle. It removes soap residue. Your clothes will come out cleaner and fluffy. Any smell will disappear when clothes are dry.

Apple cider vinegar and water is the best rinse I've ever found for clean, shiny hair.

Vinegar water is the best way to clean both the inside and outside of windows. It's better to clean windows on a cloudy day.

I've used vinegar in my vehicle's carpet after spilling coffee with cream, sugar, and vanilla in it. It removed all trace. You simply put a paper towel on area, pour vinegar on it. Let it set for about fifteen minutes. Wipe up vinegar and coffee residue. Repeat until there is no stain. Put paper towel on it and step on it to absorb any moisture.

I use baking soda to scrub any stainless steel including rv sinks. Rinse well and apply slight amount of either olive oil or coconut oil and the sinks will gleam.

I don't use dishsoap on my dishes. I heat some water to boil in my coffee pot. I use hot water with some Apple cider vinegar in it. Rinse, wipe, put away.

Any sponges and dish cloths are soaked in hot water with vinegar. Wring out well and let air dry.

Mold or mildew can be thoroughly cleaned by first scrubbing with baking soda, then rinsed with vinegar water.

Why do these tips work? Any germs will function within a specific ph range. Baking soda and vinegar are at oposite ends of the ph range. By changing the acidity or alkalinity, the bacteria and virus cannot live.

This includes the common cold. By using either boiling water, freezing pillows and bedding, using vinegar and baking soda in the wash, you kill the virus. Viruses can live 72 hours on a surface...that cold that hangs on and on does so because many have forgotten what our grandmothers knew. Instead of the hand sanitizer many use, we'd benefit better from a simple vinegar water spray.

Dishsoap does have a use, but not its traditional one. It is amazing for getting rid of grease.

I know many consider cleaning to be unskilled labor. There really is a science to it. It's time to throw off some of our "progress" and return to some of the sound ideas about environment and cleaning.

These tips will also work well for those people who choose a more traditional space.

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Day That Shall Live In Infamy

Today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I've lived in Hawaii, and visited near Pearl Harbor. The memorial is visible from the shore. There is an oil bubble that keeps coming up still.

I can imagine the shock and horror of that day. I well remember the reaction to 9/11. I was in shock, but I managed to get several things done that day while still clinging to the news reports. All conversations that day turned to the news and what was happening, what did we know.

As I watch all the current news regarding the middle east and the hype, I wonder if people have really looked at our past for the rich lessons it offers. Victory gardens, posters about Loose Lips Sink Ships, backyard chickens, national pride, patriotism. Are we doomed to repeat our past with more Gold Star mothers?

Are we watching news...or propaganda? Sometimes I really don't know. Follow the money, always follow the money.

Please don't misunderstand, should there be an attack or invasion on American soil, I'm solidly on our side. In these days of media manipulation I'm starting to ask questions, I'm seeing parallels that go back much farther than WW2.

Rather than blindly react, let's all start asking some questions, verifying sources,
And on This Day That Shall Live In Infamy, let's take a moment to remember and commemorate all those who died and those who served so that we have the right to discuss these things.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Minivans, Thanksgiving, Pups, Oh My!

Thanks to help from my friends, my minivan is again running. I'll still have motor mounts to replace in Arizona, but at least now I'll make it safely there.

I'm amazed watching everyone gear up for thanksgiving. It's a holiday I don't celebrate (nor Christmas, Easter, or similar religions holidays).

I try to live each day thankful for what i have. I'm also trying to be more minimalist. I have an 18 ft travel trailer to move up to the land in Colorado. I have my minivan. I have my two small dogs. I'm rich in friends. My life is good.

I will not be shopping on any of the holidays. I also won't participate in Black Friday. This is out of respect for those who do celebrate these days. Let them be home with their families enjoying the day.

The weather is beautiful in southern New Mexico. Today it's short sleeves, windows and doors open, sitting under a tree at the park, just feeling the light breeze blow.

In this season of stress and holidays, I wish you peace and quiet, time to sit still, time to enjoy friends and family.

Monday, November 23, 2015

What A Day I'm Having

I was driving back to walmart to get some fluids for my minivan. As I approached a busy intersection multiple things began to happen:
power steering died
the dash console lights went out
and the van made some scary noises.

The van also decided to pretty much die in the middle of an busy intersection. I was able to nurse it through the intersection and stop it across the side of the road. It had a nasty smell and steam coming from under the hood and the vehicle.

I was amazed at all the holiday spirit....go around me, honk at me, and rush to the nearby retail stores.

Some very nice guys at Enterprise Car Rental came out and helped me push it into their lot. At least I am not worried about being towed away right now. Why would towing be scary? I live in my minivan. It's loaded full of my most prized possesions and my two small adorable dogs.

Of course as all this happens, my phone is dead battery, as is my tablet, my mifi and any communication devices.

I obtained permission from the guys to park in their lot, maybe overnight. I am at starbucks having a coffee, using wi-fi, and charging my electronics.

There is a donate link at the top of this page. I could use some help. I have had a really bad day at the moment.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


It's been a while since I've blogged. My life was a little busy. There have been many changes in my life.

I've traveled in the southwest, enjoying the beauty of the desert. The wide open spaces combined with the huge vista of sky is breathtaking. A desert sunset truly looks like a jeweled sky. Away from cities, the numerous stars cover the sky.

The big cargo van is gone, rust was its nemesis.

I now drive a minivan. It's great on gas but i really miss the space of the big old cargo van.

New Mexico currently draws me. The variety of land, small towns, big cities, the amazing food, and of course roasted green chilies.

Today, a bit of weather is rolling through, the wind whipping sand around. It's cloudy, but no major rains as yet. At 60 degrees, I'm comfortable with a sweater. Since it's a bit chilly, socks with my flip flops.

It's a day to Wi-Fi at Starbucks, watch videos, or read a good book. A nice cup of coffee, a good nap will make the day perfect.

I'd like to make the rtr in Quartszite, but I'm unsure that will happen. I'm traveling with a friend and we need to be local for a few things.

Until next time, safe travels.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

New Mexico

Today's blog is a collection of some of the beauty I've found here on the edge of the desert.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Edge Of The Desert

It's been awhile since I've had a chance to update my blog.

The big white van has made its last trip. Michigan cancer, also known as rust, has caused damage that makes it economically unfeasible to repair the E250. The rear brakes are rusted on, the gas tank seems to have a leak.

I bought a Plymouth Town & Country 2 to replace the E250. It's a nice minivan, drives well, but it definitely won't tow the travel trailer.

The Amerigo trailer is temporarily in storage. I still plan to renovate it and put it back to it's original condition, but one thing at a time.

The desert weather has been good for both my lungs and my MS. I'm currently in an rv park for this month and next. So...going south was a very good decision both health wise and personally.

I'm still recuperating and resting. It was a very long trip down here. At least the van waited to give up the ghost until I got down here and secured my trailer in a safe spot.

Happy Travels.

Monday, March 9, 2015!

I bought a new tablet. I've wanted one for a long time. They've become surprisingly affordable. I bought the Nextbook8 at Walmart. By the time I left, it was $85 for the tablet, and $10 for the screen protector. I think I'll make my own custom case for protection.

It's an Android tablet, easy to learn to use. It is WiFi only. You can tether it to your smartphone to take advantage of your smartphone's data connection.

I had on hand a 125gb microSD card. The tablet has a slot for microSD card and a HDMI connection. The tablet can be connected to laptop using standard USB data cable. This allows easy transfer of pictures, videos, or documents.

I highly recommend a tablet for those of us with a very mobile lifestyle.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Morning Coffee By The Lake...Benefits Of Boondocking.

One of the benefits of boondocking is being able to enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee with a beautiful view. It starts the day off in a very peaceful way.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Down South...updates

I really did it, I left the frozen north of Michigan.

As i write this blog, I'm sitting in a parking lot in Mineral Springs, Texas. I'm headed for southern New Mexico.

The van has had a few issues. It may be as simple as a fuel filter or as complicated as needing the heads fixed.

I've added an injector cleaner fuel additive. I'm hopeful. It sounds a bit better already. Tomorrow as we go down the road will tell how well it's working.

Mona and Bear adore being able to be outside without freezing their paws off. They also seem happy to be traveling many trees to sniff.

The gas cost on this trip has wiped me out. Anyone wishing to help can use the PayPal donate button on top of this page or send via PayPal to

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Countdown To Leaving

Soon, I'll leave snowy winter in search of warmer climate. I've got short timer syndrome. I want to gas up and go now.

A minor legal matter holds me here. Possible earliest date to leave is Wednesday, just 4 short days away. A court date is all that holds me here.

Worst case scenario, I'm on the road February 10th with January 30th being more probable (or sooner with luck).

Minimum needed for safe trip... tires ($45 each at nearby tire place. That price includes tires put on vehicle ready to go.)

Gas.. about 140 gallons at approximately $2 per gallon ($280).

I only have one propane tank ($16.96 to fill) so I'll get a 4 pack of one pound propane bottles as a back up ($12.97)

Dogs will need bottled water to avoid stomach upsets and diarrhea. I'll start trip with 10 3-liter bottles of local water to cut costs.

My food and drinks, I'll carry on board. I'll pre-make half dozen sandwiches to save time.

Another thing I'll do is have phone and charging stuff handy in plastic "vault" box. I plan on charging phones and battery banks while running.

I'm going to utilize empty 33 pound Tidy Cat litter containers to avoid load shift and cupboards dumping. It also allows me to equalize the weight distribution for safety.

I'll be taking lots of photos and posting them.

Feel free to use donate link at top of blog to donate via PayPal.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sleeping Warmly In A Blizzard

The weather decided to drop a foot and a half of snow on me in less than two days. My propane heater is currently not working. do I sleep comfortably even under these conditions?
Let's start with an old fashioned item, a sleeping cap. While mine is not the old long hanging come we see in photos and illustrations, it serves it's purpose, to help me stay warm. A fleece masked hat keeps my head warm. That makes a huge difference.
Trick number two is clean, dry socks. They make a big difference. I use synthetic ones, much warmer.
Making up my bed is crucial. The types of blankets used and how they are layered. Don't forget to put something underneath you. I use my heavy sleeping bag as the first layer. Over that is a nylon child's sleeping bag. Next comes a polyester microfiber blanket. I'm the next layer, covered with another plush microfiber older cotton flannel blanket over that, topped by a flannel quilt and a thick comforter. On top of all that, I like on the several long wool coats I have.
My final ingredient to staying warm is to stuff my two small dogs into the covers with me. A fleece blanket is used to loosely cover my face area.
I'm snug as a bug in my bed, almost like creating a blanket cocoon around me.
This has been good so far in temperatures where the wind chill is hitting minus 20 as it is tonight.
I'm curled up in bed, with two sleeping pups, watching videos on my cell phone.
Happy trails to you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Road Trip Ahead SOON

I'm getting ready for a major road trip of about 2000 miles.

I'll be taking lots of pictures and videos, as well as blogging about it.

I'll do a few needed things here, but I'm permanently done with the snowy, frozen, north.

I look forward to desert panoramas, adventures, and peace.

Once I've recovered from the trip, TheRez (my trailer) will start getting her makeover. I've already started getting some of the stuff I'll need to put this little beauty back in shape.

Stay tuned to the blog for further details.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Year.

It's a new year, and I have big plans.

I've gotten one of the two house batteries I need, I'll be adding another 20 pound propane tank, 4 tires on the van and one tire on the trailer. A copper inline splice so I can finally use my onboard water tank, and then I'll be
Ready to travel and enjoy my adventuresome side again.

Between last winter, and the arctic cold fronts this year so far, I'm desert bound.

I'll leave Michigan with the basics and a full tank of gas. I'll be about halfway done on getting set up for solar. I'll have power, water, and hearing/cooking set up.

The trailer is going to get a total native makeover inside and out. It's new name will be the Rez (short for reservation).

If you wish to help out with any part of my preparations or journey, you can donate using the PayPal button on the top of the blog.

I'm proof that disability doesn't mean no more life, it's just slower.