air compressor small 2017 nov 24.jpgDisclaimer: This is my experience in air compressors.  Yours may be different.

I used this small compressor to blow out the water lines on the 5th wheel after we returned from the Santa Rosa trip.  It takes about two tanks full to do it right.  I also used it on the little travel trailer, but the lines were more convoluted and it took three tank fulls.

Trying to air up a big tire would be a joke with this little puppy.  It just doesn’t have the uumph.  We have a much stronger one for the tires.  I keep this one to blow out the plumbing lines because all the literature I’ve ever found on the subject says to limit the pressure going in to 30 pounds.  Not all air compressors have a knob that let’s you make adjustments.

air compressor small gauges 30 outlet 2017 nov 24.jpg

Take a look at this image.  The yellow arrow is pointing to the knob which lets me control the pressure of air coming out the hose. When I twist it, the needle in the gauge above it changes.

The orange arrow points to the gauge that shows how much air is going through the hose.  I can twist the knob down to very low or as high as it will go which is 110 pounds.  If I forget to readjust it when I’m filling my garden cart tires to 35, I’ll be scratching my head wondering why I can’t get the last five pounds in.

The light blue arrow is pointing to the tank pressure gauge.  It shows how much air is in the tank for use.  Forget that marvelous dial that shows 200 pounds.  110 is the most this one will do.  Do not buy this tank to do things like driving nails or brads.  Again, it doesn’t have the uumph to do more than a couple of brads and then you will have to refill it.

The dark blue arrow is pointing to a pressure release valve.  Hit this lightly when you have 110 pounds in the tank and a loud very intense hiss will scare the heck out of you.  Then you have to refill the tank.  I pull on this valve after I don’t need any more air.  Always empty the tank when you don’t need any more.

hearing protectors 2017 nov 21.jpgBy the way, ALWAYS WEAR HEARING PROTECTION and eye protection when filling the tank.  This particular model sounds like an 18-wheeler in a closet.  Be like me, scatter ear muffs all over the property so when you need a pair, one will be nearby.

I was trained by old timers to never stand facing perpendicular to the gauges and to wear safety glasses just in case the gauge explodes.  I also have safety glasses wherever I might possibly need them.  This includes in my vehicles and my fishing vest.  Fly fishing casts can go rouge and lures have been known to hit in the eye.  I’ve yet to do that, but I’ve raised quite the welt on my forehead from a bead-headed little beauty.  I was going to post some photos of hooks in the eye, but the photos were too gross.

My eyes have almost identical prescriptions, so I can wear readers.  I love Dewalt’s safety readers which have a range of 1.0 to 3.0.  Keep an eye on the little rubber temples.  They fall off sometimes, so I usually pull them off and reattach with a really good glue.

Alright.  Enough on this subject and the side routes.  Carry on fellow humans.

Posted in 5th Wheel, Safety, Tools, Travel Trailer | Leave a comment


I hadn’t mentioned how I was going to light my evening and night in the forest.

I’ve got two solar powered lights, a flashlight, a headlamp, and if everything electronic failed, a candle lantern.  Yeah, I’m not going to be in the dark.  Ever.  I could possibly light up the entire acreage of Timberon if the electricity goes out there.

I’ve even have whatever DC power which can be coaxed out of the house battery which got somewhat charged on the drive up.  Six years of life, the lack of a solenoid to fill the battery fully when driving and a charge controller to prevent it from being overcharged have basically killed it of any dependability.  Maybe I could get 30 minutes before the battery fizzled.  Maybe not.

Darn, another thing to buy.  LED lights to replace all the wasteful bulbs.

Posted in Adventure Van, Camping Equipment | Leave a comment


Got an email update from New Mexico Department of Fish and Game.  I was going to blow it off until I saw it was about the San Juan River.  It hasn’t been that long since Margo and I stayed at the Cottonwood Campground, and I spent five days standing in the cold water above my knees fly fishing.  It was the greatest five days of fishing I’ve ever had even if I didn’t catch a lot.  I clicked on their link and it took me to their main page, but darn if I could find the announcement in a web page.  So I’ve copied and pasted the announcement here.

“Upcoming enhancements of San Juan River
at Navajo Lake State Park

Expect temporary closures of day-use areas

FARMINGTON – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will begin a river enhancement project on Dec. 15 on the San Juan River at Navajo Lake State Park from Simon Point Day-Use Area downriver to the Crusher Hole Day-Use Area. Temporary closures of multiple day-use areas are expected until April 2018.

The project will include a new boat takeout at Crusher Hole Day-Use Area. The Crusher Hole area will be closed to the public from Dec. 15, 2017, through March 1, 2018. There will be no access to the boat takeout at Crusher Hole while the new takeout is constructed.

Bolack Day-Use Area will be closed from Dec. 15, 2017, through April 15, 2018. County Road 4280 that offers access to the area will also be closed to traffic. However, anglers may access the area at Cottonwood Campground.

A temporary boat takeout will be constructed at the Munoz Day-Use Area. The temporary takeout will provide public access to the upper portions of the river.

For the safety of all visitors to the park, use of the San Juan River past Simon Point, including portions in and out of the park boundaries, will be closed to boat traffic and wade fishing from Dec. 15, 2017, through March 1, 2018. Limited use of the river will be available from March 1, 2018, through April 15, 2018.

All listed areas will be posted closed and the gates will be locked.  For more information, please visit or contact Navajo Lake State Park, (505) 632-2278.”

Awesome.  I’m hoping we can get back up there in 2018 about the same time we went this year.

Posted in Fishing, New Mexico | Leave a comment


Yesterday, I posted of my trip to the forest where I had planned to spend the night, but it got too cold so I made a hasty retreat to warmer climes.

After the blizzard of 2014 where the electricity went out and happily came back on before the plumbing froze, I decided to be proactive.  I purchased a Little Buddy propane heater to put in the bathroom which is the only place that gets a little iffy when temps drops into the teens and no water is dripped.  It works off a one pound propane bottle.

heater little buddy 2017 nov 27.jpgI had found it as I packed to move.  Brought it along.  I pulled the box out.  Other than looking at it and saying, “Okay” it hasn’t seen the light of day.  I took out a top and base.  Got out a one pound propane bottle.  I read the directions because — doesn’t everyone? Obviously, reading the directions is a good, good thing.

I put it together and pressed and held the “on”.  The pilot wouldn’t light.  I tried it again and again.  Some muttering took place.  I hunted on youtube to see if this was an issue for others.  The guy in this video explained the safety features and how to start it.  Attach the propane bottle to the top while the bottle is right side up (48 seconds into the video).  I’d been flipping the heater top upside down so it was easier to thread.  Could that be the problem?  I tried it their way and Viola!  it worked.  There is no big honkin’ flame.  See that light blue around the white part?  That’s the flame.  It’s so hard to see that I look for shadows from the rising fumes.

Crack open a window.  You know that because you read the directions.  Ah, life-giving, fresh air that doesn’t smell.

It’s fairly light and takes up about the same space as a 5-gallon can.  Darn base falls off more often than I fall down.  I like that it has a safety shut off if the oxygen level gets too low or if it gets knocked over.  Will I trust these two safety features.  Aw, heck no.

The heater doesn’t have a heat control, so if it gets too hot I’ll have to turn it off.  Will HappyDog knock it over.  Highly likely.  Will she set herself on fire?  Again highly likely.  Maybe I should leave this for the bathroom and find something else.

More thinking to do on this.

Posted in Adventure Van, Camping Equipment, Safety | 1 Comment


I wanted to spend the night in the van in the mountains to work on my courage without being too far from home.  It will also give me the chance to work out issues so the first adventure trip won’t leave me unhappy and glaring at the van with a blazing torch in my hand.   Buying my van late in the fall has left me with few good days to get to high altitude without freezing my hiney off.  Finally found two mostly calm, warm days the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving.  The long weekend campers should be packing up and heading down.  Go.  Go.  Go.  Perhaps I’ll get there right after they leave.

I leave Margo with a list of four places I might stay.  Bailey Canyon Road is closer, thereby less gas to get there.  Two places on Pumphouse Road, but I was there last week.  So I’ll go over to Bluff Springs.  Good walking trails, beautiful scenery, vault toilets, and moving water.   There’s also multiple fairly flat camping spots along the river.  The campsites themselves are nothing more than a row of big fairly flat rocks preventing vehicles from crowding the flat spots and fire pits a little bit too close to each other.

I need a relatively level spot to park because I don’t have levelers yet.  (Add that to the list.) Yee-haw, the campsites are empty.  I drive past judging the camp road and hoping the further perfect travel trailer spot is available.  Nope.  A comfortable camp is arranged around a travel trailer.  Not sure of what is farther down, I do a 180 and get a second look at the camp road.  It looks totally different when you have to look with the eyes of a rear wheel drive.  The eastern exit is a jumble of big loose rocks and two deep trenches.  I could get down if I was willing to jerk loose everything in the van — including my teeth.  I would never, ever be coming back up it.

The western entrance looks much better, and I pull in to a safe place and stare at the minefield before me.  The sites are ten feet lower than the county road, and I have forty yards down a leaning slope.  I must consider the top heaviness of my van.  Tips of gallon sized rocks must be navigated around.  Monsoon has cut a tire trap chasm and a tiny spring makes sure it’s muddy.  To my right the loop back up is off limits to my van.  Vehicles have cut ruts so deep that a lifted vehicle would be left sitting on the oil pan.  I’ll have to go down and up the same way.  Done with care, it will be a breeze for this woman who has been crawling these mountains for six years.  Barreling in just won’t cut it.  I visualize my line beginning to end and back out.  When satisfied I can safely get in and out, I thread slow and steady through the obstacles with barely a sweat.

bluff springs ice on north 2017 nov 26I throw open the van’s barn doors.  Camp is set up.  Then I see this.   It’s a small spring, and it’s frozen.  I also find a fine pile of ice cubes near a fire pit.  Uh-oh.  It’s been cold here.  I palm plant my forehead.  Of course, I checked the weather for Cloudcroft.  The farther south you drive, the colder it gets until one gets to the foothills.  I should have checked Sunspot weather.

What is it about the color white that attracts flies?  Within two minutes, a dozen are kissing my van.

I’ll give it a try.  If it’s too cold, I’ll cut my losses and go home.  Right now I’m desperate for food.  I missed breakfast and am willing to chew on an old cow bone if HappyDog would bring me one.  Instead I get out my little propane stove and heat up some canned stew.


bluff springs willie white trail 2017 nov 26

The first distance photo of my sweetie van amid a great view.

Time to get in a good walk.  Ol’ HappyDog loves running about the forest, but I know something today that she doesn’t — it’s elk hunting season.

bluff springs hd backpack 2017 nov 26.jpg

I put on a hunting orange cap and red plaid jacket.  I strapped HappyDog, who is close to elk color, into her orange backpack and she, of course, acted soooooo insulted.  I had to PULL her with the leash for the first ten feet.  Once the four feet got moving, she tried to unsuccessfully rub the bag against my legs.  I was ready because she does it every time.  Had my bad dog voice ready.  So she accepted the torture and did her darndest to get it muddy or shake it off center.  Here she is with her orange finery on taken from long distance.  I see orange.  Don’t shoot.

HappyDog was the happiest nose dog in the forest wearing a most insulting backpack.  She catalogued the top of the bluff while I walked up to the head of the spring.  I recently saw a blogger fill a bottle and drink without filtering it.  I almost squealed “no” then realized it was as pure a water as you will ever drink.

bluff springs water flow 2017 nov 26And boy was that water cold!  It bordered on freezing.  I filled two empty bottles and used the water to rinse the mud off HappyDog.  She wasn’t happy about it.  Followed it with a brisk rubbing from a dog towel which is a necessity when you have a dog that attracts mud as much as mine.

Back at the van I looked for a good place to tie the 10-foot dog cable.  Hmmm.  Add to the list a hammer and a heavy duty tent stake.  I clipped the cable to the tow hitch safety chain holes.  She proved this is a great place for mischief when she ferociously barked at people who had parked nearby to take a walk up the hill.  I didn’t see them when they came back in the car, and they didn’t see she was tied.  Everybody’s eyes got a little wide.

I had gotten comfortable.  A good chair and a good book.  It was comfortable while the sun was overhead, but as it set behind the mountains suddenly it got cold.  I went indoors and layered on clothes and a throw.  Things weren’t going as well as I planned.  I didn’t bring a heating device other than the little burner I used to heat the stew.  With no insulation on my windows, I doubted it would do the job and when I tested it the night I stayed in the van the fumes forced me to turn it off.

The hour before mountain sunset was a mental fight to ignore the cold.  Was I going to spend the entire evening and night under blankets?  Fourteen hours to daylight.  The temperature dropped to 40 which was the lowest I expected.  I guestimated a drop to below freezing.  I could stay here and be miserable while toughing it out, or I could drive an hour to a warm house and bed.  Well, another lesson learned.  I’ll be fishing in the mountains and sudden cold spells will be the norm.  I must carry some way to heat the inside.  I packed up and almost forgot the dog cable.  Another reason to tie it to the door hinge so I can’t miss it.  I must get in the habit of making a complete 360 around the vehicle before leaving to search for forgotten items.

I should have pulled up into the better parking area and waited for it to get dark.  Instead I headed west with the golden glow half blinding me.  In the waning light I had to keep a sharp eye out for elk, mule deer and hunters parked on the side of the road.  I was definitely glad to turn on the lights.  I made a quick circle through Cloudcroft to enjoy the Christmas decorations and lights.  They made everything look so cheery and festive.

In the western foothills I experienced a second glaring sunset and had to peel out of a layer.

I surprised Margo when I knocked on the door, and she was happy to have me home.  She worried about bears eating me.  There’s no snow so the bears haven’t hibernated yet.  Sometimes they don’t hibernate at all.  No bears, Dear.  No heat either.

I learned more valuable adventuring lessons.  Take levelers and a heater that doesn’t have to run on electricity.  Take a hammer and a big headed tent stake for the dog.  Look at the right weather location.

Boy, I’m definitely a camping newby.

Posted in Adventure Van, Campgrounds, Camping, Camping Equipment, Uncategorized | 2 Comments


I’ve been oblivious to the really dirty driver’s seat in the van.  Actually, I’ve been waiting to gain powers like Samantha on Bewitched.  Seeing as there is no indication of such happening, I commenced.  As I looked at the varied stains and drips, I’m thinking kids, dogs and a couple of goats have lived whole lives up against it.  It looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in 20 years, especially the bottom trim hiding all the seat mechanisms.  For some reason, today seemed like a good day to tackle it.

The seller told me it was leather, so I got out all my leather cleaning products we used to use for our motorcycle gear and set to work.  I scrubbed until I should have buffed down to the van frame, but the stains persisted.  My list of other tasks for the day fell to the wayside.  It became a challenge to complete this one task.

van chair clean armrest 2017 nov 22A slight tear in the material told me the truth.  It is naugahyde, artificial leather, other than the seat, back, and top of armrests.  A couple of kinder, gentler things didn’t work, so I got out the tough stuff, and assailed it with a brush.   The stains slowly turned to sludge and papertowels piled up outside the door.  I lost so much valuable time massaging leather that I ran out of energy before I completed the whole thing.  Maybe I’ll tackle the rest on Black Friday.

But.  What is done looks very, very good.  It will be a pleasure to sit my hiney in it.

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van refrigerator whole 2017 nov 21.jpg

Here’s my van refrigerator.  Above and to the side you can see the venting for the motor.  Gosh, I didn’t realize how disorganized the area around it is.

Yes, it’s one of those kneel-to-get-to-stuff fridge.  It’s easier to get to with the top off the bed.  The door can be opened a lot farther too. In my perfect traveling world, the refrigerator would be replaced with a 12v super-insulated chest style and be moved to the right which would allow it to be pulled out into the open area in front of the barn doors.  There would be enough room to install a drawer underneath it for foodstuff.  Ah, to dream.

van refrigerator inside 2017 nov 21

It runs when the van is hooked to 120v shore power and also when unhooked from shore power.  I don’t know if the power is first running to the house battery then going into the converter.

I have no idea of the cubic size.  It’s a lot bigger than some I’ve seen.

van refrigerator control 2017 nov 21

Tucked in the upper right hand corner is the thermostat.  I like it better than the sliding thermostat we had in the travel trailer.  I can adjust the temperature more accurately using the numbers around the knob.

I’ve tested it, turning the thermostat all the way up and after two hours the temperature had fallen to 31 degrees.  That means I can make ice cubes or freeze packages of fresh trout, if I’m willing to wait many hours and if the outside temperature isn’t too hot.  I wonder if it would freeze faster if I slid a couple of pieces of reflectix under the white panel below the freezer area.  To hold the cold air towards the top.  As it sits now, whatever temperature I set it to will fill the whole void.  If I set it so the freezer freezes, then the bottom freezes too.  I like how the door shelves are removable and if I move the middle one to the top I have room for wine bottles.  A third of the wire rack can flip over.  I have no idea why.

van refrigerator locked closed 2017 nov 21.jpg

The door lock can be used to lock the door closed or lock the door open when it needs to air out after a trip.

van refrigerator locked open 2017 nov 21.jpg

van fridge placard 2017 nov 22.jpg

I gave everything a good cleaning and found this on the inside.  12 volt DC.  Now if I could just figure out if it goes through the converter or directly through the batteries.

Posted in Adventure Van, Electronics | Leave a comment