Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Easy answer!

A huge 
Thank You 
to everyone for all your great advice in helping me make a decision on the jewely question!

I have decided on, and in fact have started, a new blog for the jewelry stuff. I really considered the first and third options on the poll as the same basic answer after thinking a little more on it, combined, they won.

I will give the address to the blog as soon as I get a few things up there to make it worth looking at :) 

I will definitely make sure I post the articles that are very van-related here, such as my work area and storage methods etc. 

Thanks again! You folks are truly the best!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Question for you!

As many of you may already know, I make jewelry as a hobby/potential form of income while Vantramping through life. My question is, should I start a new blog for the jewelry stuff separately or add it here. There are advantages to both, but really, my biggest concern is that I don't want to annoy our readers who are really more interested in travel and the lifestyle with posts on jewelry in any regular sort of way. Vantramping is what this blog is about. Always will be. The Jewelry making might be of some interest though as it is a van based potential business/hobby with a very small footprint. 

So I am completely torn, if anything leaning more towards separate blogs, but I put up a poll to get your input, as really, your thoughts on it are what is most important to me. So please, vote quick and let me know what you think. I would be extremely grateful!

Pretty White Shapes

If I were to post Michael's map it would be all colored in and stuff!  No pretty white shapes for him!  As you can see, our states traveled *together* map (also Heidi's map) has just the right amount of white space to keep things interesting! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in Quartzite

Happy Thanksgiving from Quartzite AZ! Heidi and I have been enjoying our stay in the area so far! Up until today we had been boondocking quite a ways from town where it has been very peaceful, with the coyote above our only visitor. He seems to have located the only trash we have seen since we have been here. The area is very clean overall, much different than many other places we have been. 

For Thanksgiving, we decided to stay at an RV park in town where we could utilize shore power and not put the extra draw on the battery bank for all the cooking this holiday entails. Heidi slaved away in our tiny galley making chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy, and green beans. This small but wonderful feast was enjoyed by her, myself and Remi, a nice, fellow VanTramp who showed up in Quartzite late last night. We were glad to finally get to meet him and share a meal! See his blog here --> Cajun Gypsy

Taj picked our arrival in the desert as the appropriate time to suffer a failed coach water pump.  The picture above was taken during my attempt at repairing it with a new pump head.  That repair turned out to be a waste of $25 and a lot of time. I really am not known for JUST repairing stuff anyway. Time for a long planned upgrade! We had been wanting to setup a water filtration system anyway so this just forces my hand to start that project a little earlier.  After I do a little research and find the best filter system to use, that and a variable speed FloJet pump will get installed to replace the old noisy SureFlow. I will detail the process in another post hopefully before long. 

At the end of the day, as I sit and finish off this post, I really am thinking of all the things I have to be grateful for.  Our family and our friends, which includes you reading here as well, are at the top of that list! Life as a Vantramp really is an amazing, adventurous journey! Thanks to you all sharing it with us! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

St George and beyond!

After our excellent time spent with our friend Brian in Truth Or Consequences, Heidi and I set out for St George Utah to meet up with daughter Jay for a few days.

The route we took was suggested to us by Brian based on altitude and weather.  The general idea being to stop at a "reasonable" half way point of Winslow AZ for the night, completing the remaining miles the next day (Total of 685).  Things don't always go as planned of course... The temps in Winslow were expected to drop to a frigid 24 degrees and given the 5500' altitude, we chose to push on to Page AZ instead(529 miles for the day). Page was a more tolerable 4300' and 34 degrees.

Out in the desert, just west of Socorro NM, we found some amazing free WiFi!

Just kidding :)  That large array of dishes is apparently used for Radio Astronomy, which I had not heard of. You can read about it here --> www.vla.nrao.edu.  It was impressive to see!

Just outside of Page, The Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powel were beautiful sights first thing in the morning. They brought back fond memories for Heidi of time spent boating with her Dad many years ago.

Our visit with Jay was short, but fun as always. We picked her up in St George and went on to Mesquite NV, for a few days spent with Heidi's Mom and Dad. This was the first time I had met her folks and wasn't surprised to find them both very kind and interesting. We really had a nice time there!(Entirely legit feelings, none of that "expected" sucking up to the inlaws here!)

On the way out of St George towards our current location (Quartzite AZ) we spotted this "Expedition" style RV and thought it a worthy parting shot as you just don't see many Pinzgauers around.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Truth or Consequences.....New Mexico :)

Heidi and I have been enjoying a little mini get-together of wonderful folks here at Bri's place in TorC.  This place has a really great vibe, relaxed and just down right friendly! The Gal in the picture above with Bri and Dina Dog is Kittie, another vantramping friend that showed up in her sweet 04 Roadtrek with her sidekick "Tony" (that cute little papillon in her arms).

Ahh, I just love to see sweet van homes hanging out with Taj! Bri's little Chinookie is in the middle.

Our time spent together with Bri and our new friends, Wendy and Mikey, Kittie, Dean and Chris as well as the various fur kids, has been excellent! Lots of great food, good laughs and amazing info passed around. Heidi and Kittie enjoyed one of the great hot spring soaks last night while Bri and I got his netbook setup with Linux. Yeah, I should have been in the hot tub too, but helping a friend transition to my favorite OS makes me pretty happy...(I am such a geek!)

Meeting up with like minded folks is just such a great benefit of this lifestyle! A lifestyle that many would believe is quite solitary and certainly can be if desired, is really full of amazing opportunities.  Don't let them pass you by!

Definitely stop by Bri's blog and check out his pics from his Africa trip he just returned from :)


Holy Scrap!

Linked from Holy Scrap Hot Springs (Mike, Heidi, Wendy, Mikey)

While visiting our good friend Brian in Truth or Consequences NM (see next post), I (Heidi) was logging onto our 3g internet when I saw another wireless internet signal named "Holy Scrap".  I thought that was strange since I follow a really great blog by that name.  I went to the blog Holy Scrap Hot Springs to see where they hail from and sure enough, Truth or Consequences!  Brian told me they were just over the fence from where Taj was parked and asked if I'd like to meet them. "That's crazy; oh yes I do!"

Holy Scrap Hot Springs is a magical homestead ... It's like an eco-friendly amusement park!

Wendy gave us a tour that included:

  • Papercrete construction
  • Vermiculture (worm composting)
  • Solar/battery system
  • Garden areas
  • Beekeeping
  • Wine/cheese making
  • Mikey's widget
  • Dehydrating
  • Etc., etc., etc., ...

We had discussions about simplicity, thermos cooking, composting toilets (humanure), foraging, laundry methods... well, you get the idea, all of my favorite topics!

We ended our visit with our own tour of Taj where we took the above posted picture.

Thanks Wendy and Mikey!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oh Wonderful Shower!

I just had a wonderful shower!  While it's on my mind, I think I'll blog... so I can say "my husband is a genius"! You may have read about his shower mods (blogged about here) and I may have been less than enthusiastic about taking the time to do the mod, but it sure is nice now!

He made our Roadtrek's bath into a wet-bath.  We can now sit down (or use the old stand up method).  It's great!  I now have no desire to use any other shower facilities.

Here's my method:
1. Turn on the hot water heater and roll up the carpet (I usually sweep the floor at this time)
2. Gather my shower "stuff": 
  •   2 towels (I use cotton flower sack towels (they wrap around my hair and they dry *very* fast)
  •   long handled back brush
  •   shower scrunchie
  •   2 or 3 in one shampoo - shampoo, cream rinse, and body soap
  •   razor
  •   small plastic pitcher
  •   small plastic bin (we use these for many things)
3. Before the water gets too hot and I have to mix with cold water (about 10 minutes), I put a little warm water in a small pitcher and also a small bin.  I wet my hair and turn off the water.
4. I put my feet in the bin of warm water so I don't get chilled while washing my hair without the water on.  I shampoo my hair and I use the pitcher water if I need more lather.
5. Turn the water back on and rinse my hair - I wrap my hair up turban-style in a sack cloth towel.
6. I use the warm water pitcher and bin to wash and shave, before turning the water on one more time to rinse.  By this time I have to turn on the cold water tap or it's too hot.
7. At this point I've conserved lots of water and I'll take a moment to enjoy the water pressure!  Mike re-engineered the plumbing so we could use a regular water saving high pressure shower head.
8. Turn off the water and the water heater.

Ahhhhh, thanks Sweet Husband!