Looks like the Fourth of July holiday is coming up this weekend so I've started making plans on what to do. There's going to be fireworks displays just down the road at Chatfield state Park and another one about 4 miles away in the opposite direction. But after giving it a lot of thought I think I will fall back on my previous holiday plans which are, don't get out on the roads, stay away from crowds, and keep my head down until the holidays over.
I know that doesn't sound like much fun, or very exciting to most folks, and even I can remember when I was young enough that my current plans would sound like a terrible way to spend a long weekend. But I've gotten mature enough, not old just mature, to realize that dealing with heavy traffic and inebriated people is not a good way to spend my time anymore.
There was a time long long ago in a place far far away that I would've enjoyed being out there with everyone. But now I've become more hermit like and I'm much happier spending my time alone or with my family. I don't want to become a total recluse because I do enjoy being around people every now and then but being around large crowds of people I don't know holds no interest for me anymore.
A local beekeeper keeping some bees.
The South Platte River just down the road from here.
I did a little work on my bicycle the other day. The poor critter has been hanging on the back of the Arctic Fox totally exposed to the sun and the rain without getting much use lately.
Despite that it had been doing pretty good until I spent that month on Padre Island right on the beach and all the windblown sand and salt water really took its toll. The frame is made out of aluminum so it held up pretty well but all of the steel stuff, like wheels and spokes, handlebars, and sprockets were in definite need of some help. The chain suffered the most which is kind of weird because that had more lubricant on it than any other part of the bike but it rusted to the point that I will have to buy a new one first chance I get.
It hadn't been getting much use for several reasons the most important of which is, pedaling a bicycle is too darn hard, and my ape hanger handlebars didn't work very well on dirt trails. I'm not sure what to do about the first reason but it was pretty obvious some new handlebars would fix the second reason.
I spent little time on Amazon and found some aluminum handlebars that were smaller and substantially lighter than the previous steel bars. I'm not that thrilled about the silver color of the bars but I think one of these days I'll sand off the protective clearcoat and put some Birchwood Casey aluminum black on the bars which will make them match the rest of the bike and will protect them at least as good as paint if not better.
I thought carrying the bike on the motorcycle rack with the Yamaha WR450 would be a convenient way of toting the bike around, but in reality they both got in the way of each other. It was hard to get the bicycle off because of all the motorcycle tie downs in the way. And I couldn't get the motorcycle off without moving the bicycle first, it was a lose lose situation. And I figured out long time ago that if something is hard to do I will usually avoid doing it.
So my new plan is to try carrying the bicycle in the back seat of the truck. I gave it a try and found out that if I take off the front wheel it fits in their real nice. The front wheel is a tool free quick disconnect so it only takes a minute to get it on or off.
I figure I'll give the bike another year to be a part of my traveling family and if I still haven't used it much I will find a new home for it that hopefully will get more use out of it than I have.
My bicycle with the new handlebars. The ape hangers are in the background
I'm not really dead, in fact I have no desire whatsoever to assume room temperature. I had recently been thinking about a song by Warren Zevon called "Things to do in Denver when you're dead" and since I haven't been doing much lately I thought it kind of fit because not much has been going on for me the last few days.
The last couple of days have been in the low 90s which is too hot for me to be doing much of anything, and today it's been to chilly and rainy for me to get out and do anything, I guess I'm just hard to please.
There's been a few little projects I wanted to do but between the heat, the rain, and my laziness, I haven't been getting much of anything done. The weather is looking better for the next few days so I'm hoping I can do some things to the truck and the trailer. I'm planning on leaving here sometime soon after the Fourth of July holiday and heading up to Montana. But before I can go I've still got some things that I either need or want to accomplish before I leave.
I've also got to make at least one more trip back to the town where I used to live. It takes me about an hour and 45 minutes to drive from here to there most of which is on I- 25. But when I get to Colorado Springs I have to get on Highway 24 going up into the mountains and even though it's a four-lane highway it sometimes gets pretty crowded with all of the Summer tourist heading for the high country. But it's a pretty drive into beautiful country, so it always seems like my spirits rise along with the altitude and the higher I go the happier I feel.
We took the grandkids to the Denver botanical Gardens at Chatfield this morning. The gardens are an 1800s ranch with a creek running through the middle of it that still has the old homestead, outbuildings, and garden areas from back in the day.
We got there as soon as they opened at 9 o'clock hoping to beat the heat that was forecast for later today. We didn't stay long, only about an hour and a half, and it was already getting so hot that it was no longer much fun.
Not only was it hot but the place was kind of a disappointment. It costs five dollars per car to get into the gardens, and another four dollars per adult to get into the butterfly habitat. I paid to go into the butterfly area thinking that I could get some nice butterfly pictures but unfortunately there were very few butterflies and the ones that were there looked kind of beat up and not all that photogenic. I only managed to get one picture of a butterfly and that's it at the top of the page.
The rest of the place wasn't much better, the flowers were kind of sparse, the whole garden wasn't very big, and there wasn't much for little kids to do. On the plus side all of the volunteers we talked to were great and very proud of the work they do there.
I probably made it sound like it was a total loss but it really wasn't. My grandson had fun looking at the chickens they have there, and enjoyed splashing in the creek. They had a real tractor that the kids could get on and my grandson loved looking at that but unfortunately the whole tractor was so hot from sitting in the sun you couldn't touch it so looking was all he got to do. I haven't given up on the place yet I'll probably try it again in the future on a day that's not so miserably hot.
It's hot in Denver. It's been in the high 80s low 90s for a week or so and tomorrow it's supposed to get up to 97 which made me feel pretty bad when I heard it but then a little later I heard that Phoenix is supposed to hit 120° tomorrow and I felt better.
Even though it's hot the humidity is usually low enough that its not a miserable hot, in fact I haven't turned my air conditioner on the whole time I've been in Colorado. And those high temperatures are usually only for a few hours in the afternoon and the rest of the day is much more comfortable especially at night when its usually in the high 50s.
I received an Amazon gift card for Fathers Day which was burning a hole in my pocket, so I started spending it as soon as I got up this morning. I had been needing some new handlebars for my cruiser bicycle because when I first got it I put some shoulder high ape hanger bars on it so I would look incredibly cool as I slowly rode down the street. But unfortunately the bars didn't work all that well once I got off the paved road and on to the dirt trails so I ordered some normally shaped handlebars which aren't nearly as cool as the ape hangers but will probably be a lot safer in the dirt. I guess I've reached the age where I have to trade style for functionality, such a pity.
After reading about the old fat man's leaking roof problems a few days ago I decided that I ought to get up on the roof of the Arctic Fox and see how things were going up there. Seeing as how minor problems can turn into big ones pretty quick on the roof I decided checking the roof would be priority one.
After studying on the situation for a few days my procrastination gene finally allowed my inherent laziness to kick in and decide I would get on the roof as soon as I got around to it, and this morning was the time I finally got around to it. The morning was perfect for the job because it wasn't too hot yet, and it was a little cloudy so I wasn't blinded by the white roof.
One of the worst things about getting on the roof of the Arctic Fox is dealing with my telescoping ladder. The thing is about 20 years old and is getting harder and harder to detelescope every year. I've tried cleaning it, and I've tried spraying it with a little silicone, but nothing seems to help, and its getting to the point where it takes longer to open the Ladder than it does to do the job on the roof.
Once I got up on the roof things looked better than I had expected. The factory caulking was smooth, and intact, and other than being a little dirty looks just like it did when I bought the Arctic Fox four years ago. Even the caulking that I did when I installed the solar panels was still solid with no cracks. It wasn't as smooth and professional looking as the factory caulking but it didn't look like it was going to leak anytime soon. Years ago I had considered putting EternaBond tape around all of the vents and other caulked openings in the roof but after seeing the way the factory caulking looks I don't see any need to do that at the moment.
I checked the rubber roofing for tears and didn't see any. The rubber is chalking a little bit but that's what it's supposed to do so I'm not going to worry about it. There are some teeny tiny little black spots that I guess is mold or something like that, but there's not very many, and the roof still looks white so I'm not going to worry about that either.
All in all I would say that these last four years have been pretty kind to the roof. I fully expected to have to do some caulking repairs or even cover all the caulk with EternaBond tape but I guess I'll put that off till another year.
The roof of my Arctic Fox 27 – 5L
The bedroom vent fan.The caulking is a little brown and dirty but it pretty much looked that way after the first year.
I was surprised how good the caulking looked I thought it would be dried out and cracked at least a little
The other day I had my first semi serious problem with my solar panel system. And even though I fixed it I still don't know why it happened.
About lunchtime I noticed that my Bogart engineering battery system monitor was showing that the batteries were discharging instead of charging, and since it was a bright sunny day I knew something was wrong. Thank goodness I had the monitor or I probably wouldn't have known it was happening until the batteries were dead.
I went out and opened up the front storage area of the Arctic Fox where the solar controller lives and checked a few connections with my electrical tester and quickly figured out the solar panels were putting out plenty of power but it wasn't getting to the solar controller.
Between the solar panels and the solar controller I had installed a fuse box just like you're supposed to. This fuse box, that I bought from Home Depot, is made for fusing home air conditioners and is relatively small and light and perfect for fusing the solar panels. It also acts as a way to quickly and easily disconnect the solar panels from the rest of the system.
For some reason one of the contacts inside the fuse box had overheated and not only melted some of the plastic around it but had welded the contacts together. all of these shenanigans blew the fuses and disconnected the solar panels from the system just like it was supposed to.
The only way to fix this was with a new fuse box so I hot footed it to the nearest Home Depot and bought another fuse box. Thank goodness I wasn't boondocked 30 miles from the nearest town or my level of comfort would have taken a serious turn for the worse.
This time I bought a higher-quality air-conditioning fuse box because when I first installed the solar system I think I bought the cheapest thing that had and maybe that had something to do with its premature failure. I paid about $30 for the new one, which is about twice as much as I paid for the first one, and it looks way sturdier than the old one so I'm hoping that will fix the problem, because not being an electrician I wouldn't know where else to look.
I had it all fixed up and working properly again in a couple of hours and everything's been working normally since then. Just keep in mind this problem had absolutely nothing to do with the Arctic Fox and its reliability, this was a system that I had installed myself with the full knowledge that my electrical abilities are normally limited to changing light bulbs.
The old fuse box before I finished removing it
You can see how the left side contacts are overheated and melted.
There was a little bit of excitement going on in the neighborhood yesterday. Well it wasn't exactly excitement it was more like something interesting. But not all that interesting, it was just kind of different. Yeah that's it, something different was happening in the neighborhood yesterday.
The neighbor across the street had this ginormous dead tree in their backyard and since it was a hazard to several houses in a windstorm we always wondered how they were going to get rid of that tree.
Their backyard is surrounded by a wooden fence, the tree was pretty close to their house, and there were power lines not that far away from the tree. So it looked like no matter how you cut it, or removed the huge branches from it, they were going to fall on something and break it.
Yesterday morning a pickup truck arrived and three guys started unloading climbing equipment chainsaws, and ropes, as soon as I saw that I knew it was going to be fun to watch.
It took them about eight hours but they took that tree down piece at a time and without damaging anything. They used a very simple method, since any limb they cut off would fall on something and damage it, they threw a rope over a higher limb, attached that rope to the middle of the lower limb, and tied another rope to the bottom of the lower limb. The guy in the tree then sawed off the lower limb and the guys on the ground holding the ropes guided the limb to where they wanted it to fall. It was kind of time-consuming but it worked amazingly well.
I took a few pictures of the whole operation and I hope these pictures will show how the experts handled a difficult tree removal job.
This gives you an idea of what a small space the tree had to be removed from. No matter what direction it went it was going to hit something.
This young man, who looked college-age to me, spent the whole day in that tree, other than a brief lunch break, and appeared to me to have a very dangerous job.
I never imagined anyone would climb that high in a dead tree.
I didn't meet this young man but I have a feeling you won't find him out in the street breaking windows and burning police cars like the college kids his age. Maybe a lot of those college kids should be expelled and forced to get a job like this to see what the real world is like.
I'm no tree cutting expert but I do recognize a job that should require a helmet.
I don't know what they pay this young man, but it ain't enough.
The final cut. And now he decides to wear a helmet, as if that would help if that thing fell on him. And no it didn't fall on the lady in the blue shirt with the camera
Today was thinking about what I would do if I won the lottery. It would obviously be a life-changing experience, but how much of my life would it actually change?
So let's say I won a small lottery, maybe a paltry 50 million dollars. The first thing would happen is the state and federal governments would take approximately half, which would leave me with a piddling 25 million dollars to change my life with.
The first thing I would do is go to my bank with the 25 million dollar check and handed it to the clerk who would press the hidden emergency response button and have me arrested for fraud. She of course would know that I've never had more than $85 in my account and figure I was up to something nefarious.
After I was released from custody and deposited my check I would give 20 million of it to my family, after all why should I be the only one suffering from all of the problems associated with great wealth. This would leave me with a modest 5 million dollars to live on for the rest of my life.
I would take about 60 thousand of those dollars and buy a new truck. My truck is 10 years old now and getting a little long in the tooth. I'm pretty sure the Duramax diesel engine thats in it will last a lot longer but the rest of the truck is wearing out and I really don't like the idea of being broke down beside the road towing a 30 foot 5th wheel trailer. So new truck would be at the top of my list.
The truck is the only thing I can think of that I would buy, because I've already got everything I need and maybe even a little more. So the rest of the money would have to go towards changing my life.
So how would almost 5 million dollars change my life? Would I start staying in $100 a night RV parks? No way! They probably wouldn't let me in the gate. Would I eat out at fancy restaurants every day? Not really, any restaurant fancier than Whataburger wouldn't give me a table. Would I only associate with multimillionaires like myself? Not likely, they probably wouldn't speak to me know matter how much money I had. Would I buy a huge yacht and sail around the Caribbean? Actually I'm prone to seasickness. Would I buy a multimillion dollar Prevost class A motorhome? Nope, I rather like my Arctic Fox. So how would 5 million dollars change my life?
The truth is.... It wouldn't. I know that sounds unbelievable, but it's true. At this point in my life I can't think of any other way I'd rather live. I have everything I need to live the way I want. I stay relatively cool in the summer, and relatively warm in the winter. I boondock in beautiful places, and if I want a different beautiful place, I hitch up and leave. I'm often around other RV people which I've found to be great folks. And my life is as free and stress-free as I want to be. So what more could I want.... Of Course that new truck would really be nice.
We took the grandkids to Walmart today and even though that sounds kind of mundane, to my "almost" three-year-old grandson Walmart is like Disney World. There are rides, "grocery cart" and all kinds of fun things to see and do specially in the toy aisles. He will touch almost everything and push every button that makes noise or sets a toy in motion, and laugh and squeal at his ability to create such a ruckus. Imagine his surprise when he gets tall enough to realize there are several more shelves of toys that are way out of his reach at the moment.