A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Bath Time for Bonzo

(the title of this post is from an Abbott and Costello movie)

I clean up each evening with baby wipes or a sponge bath.  Occasionally I break out the Solar Shower.  I put in three gallons of water and lay the shower bag in the sun to heat up.  This time it got too hot and I had to add another gallon to cool it down some.  Here at Sisters camp I had a nice tree limb to hang the bag from which is not always the case.  That is the only bad part about this system.  I'm not as strong as I once was and it's a bit of an effort for me to heft the bag up that high.  As I wrote that I remembered I had rigged up a pulley system back at Camp Quarantine in Arizona.  
Now what did I do with it?  I forgot all about it.  Next time.

You may be wondering so I'll answer your questions now.  Yes the RV has a shower.  I've used it maybe three times.  It is a waste of water.  I have to heat the water for at least fifteen minutes which is a waste of propane running the hot water heater tank.  Everything gets wet in the shower stall.  Back in the day I kept Sinbad's litter box in there so I had to be sure there was no litter in the drain and then would have to wipe the shower area dry.  Too much waste and trouble so I always used the shower facilities in the campground or RV park we were staying in.  Oh the stories I could tell.  Now I never stay in RV parks anymore. Having Beans I have removed the passenger seat and installed a litter box cabinet for the home in that spot.  The shower is now being used as a food pantry and to hang clothes.


Monday, June 29, 2020

Habitat for Humanity - part two

I went back to the Habitat for Humanity thrift store.  This time I was ready, leaving camp later so I would arrive after 11 am.  I walked up to the store and there’s a line to go inside.  I asked the line monitor “You have to stand in line to go in?”  She told me “We can only allow 15 people in at one time.  Governor’s orders or they will shut us down.” I looked through the door into the expansive store and could only see three people.  So with supposedly fifteen already in there plus the six standing in line, do you know how long it will take six old ladies to browse around a thrift shop before this old man could go inside to look at the books? You know how I am with standing in lines, so you’ll not be surprised to learn that I turned around and left.  Someday I’ll make it in there.  It’s become a quest now.  Jeez Louise!  This plays right in to a post coming up for the first of the month.

One good thing from my wasted trip into town was that I stopped along the way and built a turn marker.  Too many times I’ve missed the turn off the logging road onto my dirt road to camp.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Bacon Thief

One day I cooked up a whole slab of bacon at one time.
While it cooled I stepped outside for a moment to drain the grease from the pan.

Someone helped herself to a piece while I was out.

She's a good cat.  
She rarely ever meows at me to feed her.  
She'll tap me on the arm if I am sitting at the table or just sit by her dish and give me The Look.

I love my Beans

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Horses, Lamas and a Pit Bull

I went for a bicycle ride up the dirt road near camp that eventually turns into a paved road. 
 The road passes by several huge ranches. 
Fancy places.  Lots of money.
They were all set back too far for any photos. 

Horses are a big thing here.  
I haven't seen any cattle grazing.

But I did see two lamas.  Why do people have lamas?  They don't ride them.  They don't eat them.  You can't milk them.  Are they pets?  It's not like they can sit in your lap.
Why have lamas?

A late 40's or early 50's Chevrolet.
I'd take that over a horse.
Or a lama.

I passed by this.  I've seen them before in my travels. We need more of these everywhere.  
Soon after I was chased by a pit bull.  Fortunately he had no ill intent but it was unnerving nevertheless.  Why do people have pit bull dogs?  They are lots of nice dogs out there needing homes.

I went back the next day on Gracie to trade a paperback for one in the library.  The pit bull didn't show.  But I was on the Honda so I was ready.  The lama was in the very exact same spot.
What a boring life.

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Chase is On

While Beans and I are on a walk occasionally a chipmunk or ground squirrel is flushed out.  Beans will take off after it and I'll let go of the leash to give her a chance.  This time it was a long run and she was right on top of it when she suddenly slammed on the brakes in a cloud of dust.  It very much looked like those scenes you've seen of cheetahs running down antelope on the African plains. 

The rodent just made it to this hole at the very last moment.  
So close Beans, so close.

Whew!  I'm tired.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Pandora Moths

They like to crawl up the large pine tree outside the door. The pine needles are their source of food.  Every once in awhile one loses its footing and falls down with a thud.  I have yet been hit by one but have had a couple of near misses.  Beans ignores them thankfully.  I just have to be careful not to step on one for that would leave a very gooey mess on my shoe.  Evidentially they do mass migrations across Highway 97 south of Bend, OR.  The road will become so slick that the highway department has to lay sand on the roadway. They are about the size of your pinkie finger.

One day a wasp trying to carry a caterpillar walked by and rolled down into the fire pit (no fire).  Try as she might she couldn't maneuver the paralyzed pillar back to her burrow to lay eggs on it.  
She eventually gave up and went on to search for a smaller snack for her upcoming brood.

When they are ready for the next cycle of their lives the caterpillars burrow themselves underground.  I haven’t seen any in the last couple of weeks so this must be where they are now.  In their burrow they weave a silk cocoon and will morph into a moth.  The fascinating part is that the moth will not emerge until next summer or the one after depending on weather.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Habitat for Humanity

A lady out hiking walked by camp one day.  In our distant conversation she told me about the Habitat for Humanity store in town having an excellent collection of books.  I was all for that.  One day on a water run I located the store.  Yes folks, I'm getting better finding my way around this small town.

I parked the Honda, put on all my protective gear and walked up the the doors.  Locked.  

Then I noticed this on the paver stones.  COVID strikes again.  Hmm...how do I get in?  I walked up one side of the building.  Nope.  I came back and walked along the other side.  Nope.  I walked around back where DELIVERIES ONLY stood posted over the rear door.  I walked all the way around the block.  Finally back at the door among all the other signage posted there I found the hours - opens at 11.  It was 10:40.  My online search showed they opened at 9.  Foiled again by COVID.
I gave up and went to go get my water.

I'll be back.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Grocery Store

This was another bit of work to locate in town, Rays Market.  There may be other grocery stores in town but I don't need the added frustration in trying to find them.  This one looked very nice.  
Good enough for me.

I was midway through my shopping when I discovered by looking at the ground I was going the wrong direction.  I hadn't been in a store before with those one way traffic directional arrows.  Oh well, no one else was heeding the arrows.  Not even that many were wearing masks either.  Then I saw this sign at the check out.  Really, this COVID thing is way too complicated for me.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Homeless Cargo Carrier

On a water run to the city park a homeless guy was there near my water faucet.  He was a big scary looking guy with an equally big scary looking Rottweiler dog.  They walked off and I snapped this photo.  I’ve seen the homeless using shopping carts and bicycle trailers to haul their possessions in but this was a first for me, using a wheelie-bin.  Look at the size of that rope lashed to the top.  
I told you that dog was BIG.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Dollar General

Every time I go into town I get confused.  This is really a difficult place for me to navigate for some reason.  After several attempts I found the only dollar store in town.  When I went inside I was amazed how nice and clean it was.  Compared to the one I was used to in Quartzsite, this was in a whole other league.  I complimented the manager.  He really appreciated it.  I could see the smile behind his mask.  "Thank you.  We just opened last month."  Well that explains it!  

Look at all this toilet paper folks!  I've been seeing reports on the media that the corona virus will return with vengeance this fall.  Expect more quarantines, shut downs and self-isolation orders.
Now is the time to stock up on all those items you could not find last September/October. 

In my search for water (previous post) trying to find one of those purified water dispensers in town was another futile endeavor.  No one I asked knew of any in town.  What kind of town doesn't have a water machine?  Well Sisters for one.  I was forced into buying fresh new jugs at the store.  They are only a dollar apiece so its not so much about paying three times the price for a gallon of water, its more of having these empty jugs to deal with.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Finding Water

I've been in the town of Sisters twice with the RV doing errands always on the lookout for somewhere to fill the water tank on the RV.  I never found a source where I could pull in close to a faucet without attracting attention.  "Hey! What do you think you are doing there?!"
The gauge finally got into the red zone and I had to find something.  Maybe I could go to one of the private RV parks and see if they will let me"buy"some water?

I scouted out some city parks on Google maps and rode Gracie the Honda trail bike into town.
My first park, there was a faucet.  "Whew!"

The system I devised while in the desert using the trail bike 
to get water will work great while we are here.

I can carry four gallons on the back.  Now each time I go into town for a few grocery items I will bring the bottles along.  It will only take four runs to fill the tank in the RV.  

I use this empty mouthwash bottle with the bottom cut out as a funnel.

This may seem like a lot of bother but really isn't.  It is much less hassle than breaking camp and driving into town with the RV and then again remember, I couldn't locate a source and this method is more stealthy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Our Neighbors

This young couple is our nearest neighbor about a half mile down the road.  We haven’t met, COVID and all you know.  They have a car they tow behind and everyday they leave in the car to go wherever and do whatever I don’t know. 

They are from Vermont.  The front half of the bus has solar panels up top.  You can see the house air conditioner in the back door, did you notice the front door in the first photo?

The inside looks very nice and you can see images of how they fixed it up inside by going to their website  Aimless Travels

Monday, June 15, 2020

Passing Time in Camp

Besides restoring found tools I enjoy making hiking sticks.  Finding straight pieces to work with is more difficult than you might think.  I found a nice candidate at our previous camp at Williamson River.  This is from a young dead pine.  They are ideal for making hiking sticks.  I can use the main trunk near the top of the dead tree.  Straight and with few very small branches.

First a rough sanding to remove the outer layer.  I've learned that juniper isn't good.  It has a stringy bark that requires a lot of work removing and gums up the sandpaper. 

Next an overall finer sanding smoothing out the branch notches.

Then I will test the stick to see how it likes to naturally set in my hand.  I don't make long staffs like Moses would use.  My sticks are half your body height in length.  Your arm then is at a 90 degree angle and hand rests comfortable at the top.  I usually will carve a groove on the top that nestles the thumb.  This stick however didn't have a natural set to it being as straight as it was.  

So I simply rounded the top.  Next will be to apply a coat of tung oil to the stick but I'll hold off on that until after I have several sticks made and oil them all at once.

I don't sell the sticks.  I give them away.  But with this corona virus isolation distancing thing going on, interaction with people lately is like not happening.  Kind of hard giving sticks away if you don't meet people.  What to do with what soon will be a half a dozen hiking sticks I'm carting around?

Saturday, June 13, 2020

A Stroll Through the Boneyard

Lately I've seem to have lost my motivation to travel like I used to.  Things aren't the same anymore.  Everywhere I go it is "Do I need to wear a mask?"  Now there is all this civil unrest going on.  Not that I ever went into big cites before if I could avoid doing so but now why even consider going anywhere?  When I have to be wary of people due to a pandemic virus or wanton behavior why even bother to travel in the first place?  The longer we are here outside of Sisters, Oregon isolated from all the madness going on the more appealing staying put seems to be.

The forest all around us for miles is a virtual graveyard of bones scattered about. 
 Everywhere I hike there are bones.    

The deer population is getting hit hard by predators it seems.

I've not seen one deer nor any tracks in the two weeks we've been here.  I haven't seen any predators either except for a cute little tortoiseshell cat chasing squirrels, chipmunks and lizards.

There is nothing better for this mental malady of mine than a walk in the woods even though death lies all around where I walk.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Pliers

Nearby the dirt bag camp behind us I had found a pair of pliers in the dirt while Beans took me for a walk.  They were stuck shut.  No amount of effort would open them.  Not that I needed another pair of pliers but I liked the challenge to see if I could get them working once again.  I slipped off the rubber handles and started working on them spraying some oil on the hinge and letting it set.  Later, they still wouldn't budge.  I ended up having to pound a big screwdriver in to wedge the jaws apart a little bit.  Then I forced a tire iron in there to widen the gap more.  Still I couldn't work the handles one way or the other by hand.  It took slipping two foot long pipes over the handles for extra leverage and only then I was just barely able to get the pliers to move.  I kept working at it adding more oil and letting them set.  In the end much to my amazement I was able to get the handles to work freely just as they once did when new.  I finished cleaning the up, glued the rubber handles back in place and I now have a pair of needle nose pliers that are probably better than what I already had.  
Best of all there is no MADE IN CHINA markings on them. 
And this folks is how I spend my time in camps.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Trash Burn

It has been cold in the mornings.  I braved going outside only so that I could walk around to the back and stand in the sun.  Doing so I got to looking at these little foil packets scattered about by the wind.  They had been bothering me since we arrived.  Upon closer inspection there were from video game cards whatever they are. I knew where they came from.  Off up the hill behind us was a pile of crap left behind by some dirtbag.  It appears it had been there since this time last year at least.  Besides other paper items of trash were two pairs of jeans, a pair of short pants, a heavy coat of some type that may have been insulated, two KISS cd’s, headphones, and a syringe. You can well imagine.  I’ve come across this sort of thing in other places.  It just befuddles me that these losers have so little to begin with and when they move on they leave their clothing and possessions behind.  So with something do to keep warm in the sun I got my grabber tongs and started picking up those foil packets and other bits of trash putting it all into a couple of piles.  My plan was to burn it in the nice fire ring at camp.  

 I went back to the RV and got a large paper bag and with my gloves on scooped up the piles into the bag.  Back at the fire ring I dumped the lot in the pit, added my own trash and topped it off with some pine needles and bits of wood debris from wood chopping by previous campers. I lit my paper plates and everything started burning nicely including what must have been nearly a hundred of those Pok√©mon game card wrappers. Much to my surprise the wrappers melted away like plastic, not foil like I thought.  The fire was going good.  I wondered about all that other stuff up the hill.  Would those clothes burn?  Making three trips I gathered it all up (wearing my gloves).  I set a pair of jeans on the fire. They started to burn. Then added another pair, the shorts, a gym bag, the jacket, KISS cd’s, headphones...everything,  it all went up in a dense cloud of black toxic smoke that blew right into the RV.  Damn, should have shut the door!   The entire camp spot looks much better now.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

The Three Sisters

This is about the best view I can get for the three peaks this area is named after.

They are volcanic peaks all three over 10,000 feet (3000 m) in elevation, the third, fourth and fifth highest peaks in Oregon.  North Sister and Middle Sister last erupted over 14,000 years ago and are unlikely to erupt again.  But the unruly South Sister last erupted 2000 years ago and could erupt again, threatening life in the region.  Tectonic uplift was detected in 2000. 

Well enough geology for today.
Here's a cute kitty picture.


Friday, June 5, 2020

Oh Well

Sisters, Oregon

As I mentioned earlier I turned off the highway onto a forest service road following directions Claire my GPS girl set for me much to my annoyance with all the branches scraping the RV.  Well one day I got the bicycle down and went for a little ride.  A half a mile from camp I find this road.  Had I continued on the highway a mile further I could have turned in here.  Oh well. This explains how those leaving reviews for this free dispersed camping area were able to get here towing their trailers and driving their big RVs. 

On down that nice road I found lots of campers off into the woods.

The only advantage being here was being further from the highway thus quieter.

I rode around for six miles and just didn't see anything better for a camp than what we had.  There are no other campers in our entire area.  I've only see one truck drive by in the past six days.  And there are no bugs - gnats, flies or mosquitoes - none.  Very good cell service too.  I looked on Google Maps and figured out a way I can ride into town for groceries on Gracie the Honda Trail bike without having to ride on the highway.  Less than six miles.  I think we'll stay here for awhile.