Jan 31, 2009

Jan 31st 2009

Today I took Freddy up to the base of the Wasatch Mountains. Freddy was in heaven out there. He loved being in the mountains so much, that he forgot how to come when I call him. He also started barking at a cross country skiier, so we had to go back to town.

I had an overabundance of ham. It's quite economical to buy after Christmas. We bought a 12 pounder a couple weeks ago for 1.5o a pound. Two nite's ago I baked the big sonofabitch, and we have been making ham and baked bean tacos with it. Last night I bagged and froze much of it, including the ham bone. This left us 4 pounds of sliced ham sandwich cut meat, and I used 2 of the pounds for a soup that I made tonight.

After an Internet quiry I decided on an excellent "Ham and Chickpea" soup that turned out to be quite heavenly. The connection between the pasta, onions, ham, garbanzo beans, and red pepper, were quite incredible. The Italian soup was most winning, possibly the best tasting soup I've ever made. http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Ham--n--Chickpea-Soup is the recipe I used, but changed a bit of it.

I Bought Freddy a new collar. His old collar is buried in the backyard waiting for the spring. I also bought Freddy a frisbee, which he is too lazy to chase. Freddy is getting a little chubby.
In the evening, Freddy joined me for another chill session in the back of the Hell Bitch.

We enjoyed an excellent Blue Grass session on PBS, and continued on to some Celtic music that was well done. After spending several hours a night in the camper nearly every day for a month, I have no complaints about the space in the camper. We will have no problems living in the Hell Bitch in regards to space.

Jan 30, 2009

Jan 30 2009

I should have put this photo of Mom up yesterday but I got stuck on the "Freddy" story. So here it is! Can you believe she is in her 70's?

Had another MRE for dinner "Kadhi Pakora" or vegetable fritters in a yogurt sauce, from Southern India. Served with a few lightly toasted corn tortillas. Is was one of the strangest things I've ever tasted. Spicy enough to make you dream of sacred cows and elephants! I'm down to the last of the huge MRE assortment I bought several months ago. I've already eaten all the normal things like Chana Dahl and Alu Mutter. Now I have to try the stranger fare like "Paneer Chili" which is a spice indian cheese curd dish. I'll give you a full review once I get the courage to eat it.

Spent the evening hanging out with Freddy in the Hell Bitch. Many strange cars parked on my street due to a basketball game. I could hear people walking by and some of their conversations. None of them had a clue that me and Freddy were living in the camper as they were walking by. This is a test in "Stealth Camping". Stealth Camping is when you are stuck in a city and need a spot to sleep for the night. Since we boondockers don't like paying for an RV stable with neighbors 10 ft away in all directions, "Stealth Camping" is always an option.

In order to be a successful stealth camper, you need to follow a few basic rules:

1. Your camping vehicle needs to blend in.
2. Choose your campsite carefully to avoid a late nite eviction or worse.
3. Stay quiet and keep lights down.
4. Get the hell out of there before sun up!

Number one concerns the choice of vehicle. It's tough to be stealthy in a 30 foot class A motor home for instance (but it is possible). A camping trailer would be pretty obvious as well. The best stealth camping machines are vans, cars, and delivery trucks. A small truck camper like mine blends in pretty good. Since my camper needs the tail gate open in order to enter and exit, I plan to take out the truck back window and make it to where I can crawl thru from the truck cab to the camper. This machine rates pretty good on the stealth potential meter.

Number two is extremely important. Stay out of nice residential neighborhoods or any other area where the cops patrol. Some stealth campers prefer automotive shops, since people will think that your vehicle was dropped off after hours for service. Just make sure you leave before the shop opens. Many Walmarts allow camping. I hear that truck stops and rest areas are good yet noisy places, often with free internet service! My friend "George" often camps in industrial areas or behind grain silos. Many casinos allow camping in the parking lot.

Number three is obvious. Don't pull out the grill and lawn chairs in your stealth camping site. Keep your music down and your lights off. Keep a flashlight ready, preferably one large enough to be used as a weapon. But who would break into an old truck like the Hell Bitch?
Be sure to have a leak proof container in case you need to take a leak. Once your camped, do not go outside for any reason. If the cops come knocking be polite and tell him that your wife just kicked you out or something, the ability to cry would help with this excuse, I better get practicing! Just kidding. Just be polite and honest, and you should be ok.

And number 4 speaks for it's self.

Out west there are so many boondocking opportunities that stealth camping will not be needed too often, but it's nice to have that option.

Jan 29, 2009

Jan 29th 2009

Today is my Moms 73rd birthday. A few months ago she completed the San Antonio Marathon! It was also her first attempt to run a marathon. My mom (Joanne) is really an incredible person. She always excels at anything she puts her mind to doing. She has taught me to always keep going, never to lay down and quit.

I've had a few inquiries about Freddy. Freddy joined my family around Christmas 2008. I spent weeks, looking for a dog to buy in the newspaper. While looking for a dog that was, easy to train, medium size, non aggressive, intelligent. Going through all the Retrievers, Schnauzers, Greyhounds, ect. , none of the hundreds of dogs really appealed to me.
Until the picture of Freddy appeared on one of the online ads.
The Ad read "Free Dog"! and described Freddy as 1/2 Australian shepherd and 1/2 Golden Retriever??? I called the number and the owner didn't have much good to say about Freddy. Apparently his teenage daughter decided to move in with him and his new family, and his spiteful ex-wife bought the girl a dog, just before she changed parents. The owners new wife forbade Freddy to live in their house, unless he stayed in the crate. And since Freddy was an expert at escaping their fence, he had to be chained during the day. The father needed to get rid of Freddy, in order to keep the peace, and was more than grateful to unload him on me.

I was in the process of moving, when the family showed up with Freddy. The first thing Freddy did was bark and growl at me as soon as he got out of the car. I immediately noticed that Freddy was indeed an Australian Shepherd cross, but the other half is obviously ROTTWEILER , not "Golden Retriever".
So as the nice country family left my apartment, I remembered what the owner told me on the phone: " The last guy to take this dog, brought him back the same DAY! Please just take him to the pound if Freddy doesn't work out." Freddy was trying to bust out my front door to escape and would snarl at me if I tried to pet him! My reservations about Freddy was at an all time low.

So picture me, in an apartment halfway moved out and BUSY, while trying to figure out how to get out my own door, since this crazy mad dog was occupying the kitchen, And to top it off I wasn't sure how to get the dog to my new house in a snow storm. The only thing I was sure off, is that I probably wouldn't survive trying to lift this beast into the cab of my truck.

My son started bribing Freddy with pieces of hot dog until he could actually grab the leash handle. I told Logan to walk the dog to our house and don't worry if he escapes on the way.
Once Logan and the psycho-mutt left, I jumped in the Hell Bitch and drove to the house.

About 20 minutes later my son and Freddy arrived and things began to change. We left Freddy in the utility room with the backyard door open. Freddy scouted around the back yard for quite some time and his mood seemed to improve. Then we let him in the main house and he checked it out for a while, until Freddy walked up to me and started licking me on the hand. It took an hour before he seemed pretty comfortable with his new setup and owners. While Freddy and I were sleeping on the ground that first night, he reached out with his paw and we shook hands. Freddy was smiling with delight. Since then he has been my best friend!
The Rottweiler half makes him heavy and strong. Look at his leg muscles in the middle picture. His biceps are ridiculously large as well. He takes pleasure in opening doors, just pushing them until they open. I think he should unload freight for a living. Freddy is between 9 and 11 months old. He weighs around 60 but seems to grow more every day. He is also well behaved, potty trained, and won't jump on the counter or get in the trash when I'm in the house. I think the girl trained the dog well. I trained him to do a few things too. He returns on command even when distracted or in action. I've never had a better dog in my life.

Jan 28, 2009

Jan 28th 2009

Much warmer today. Highs in the mid 20's with SNOW! Freddie and I love the snow. School is out and we are going to the gym to swim some laps.

Here is the blogsite to my friend George, who's blog is an inspiration to me and is filled with good advice about what I plan to do. George and I have different approaches to the same goal (freedom). :http://blog.vagabonders-supreme.net/

Earlier I wrote about the virtues of Indian MRE's or "Meals Ready to Eat". The food is excellent, needs no refrigeration, cheap, delicious, and uses little storage space. http://www.ishopindian.com/shop/readymade-entrees-c-33.html is the source where I get Indian MRE's. A boondocker (rv'er who doesn't use rv parks or full hook-up campgrounds), with no refrigeration, needs to learn the secrets I've learned from the blue water cruising community, many years ago. For example: If you paint your eggs with veggie oil, they will last for 2 weeks or more. Mayo doesn't really need refrigeration. Sprinkle lemon juice on your newly caught fish fillets, then let them dry on the roof in the sun before you eat it raw. It's easy to live without refrigeration, as long as your not too picky.
CAUTION: Be careful which MRE's you buy, some are definately an aquired taste. Mango Dahl and Bhindi Marsala come to mind here. The Chana Marsala, and most of the other Dahls are good stuff. MTR, Priva, and VeeTee are brands that I prefer.

Jan 27, 2009

Jan 27th 2009

7:00 AM: Feckin' 2 degrees below zero. Had to put "Freddy" outside while I go to work, I hope he uses the dog house! "Freddy" gets too anxious if I leave him inside alone, and tends to chew up stuff. So I have to put him outside for a couple hours. Drove the Hell Bitch three blocks to school, so I could run home and check on Freddie during my off hour.

9:30 AM: 0 degrees. Hell Bitch's door lock was frozen shut, so I had to walk home to check on Freddy. Freddy is now enjoying the warmth of the house until I have to send him back outside again. He doesn't seem bothered by being outside this morning. It is supposed to warm up to 15 degrees this afternoon!

11:40: Lunch Time! Wow, it is 4 degrees now! I can't make it home to Freddy until 1:00. At least the sun is shining.
Ok, Made it home at 2:30 PM . Freddy is doing fine as usual. Logan and I took a siesta for a couple hours then took the "Hell Bitch" to the laundrymat to do some laundry. One advantage of having a truck camper is that while doing laundry you have a place to hang out. Although it is very cold outside, the camper stays quite warm thanks to the excellent insulation and catalytic heater. As much as I love the laundrymat crowd, I'd rather sit in the camper and surf the internet with the radio on.
After dinner, Freddy and I hung out in the camper and talked to my friend "Chuck" , who is currently stuck in El Paso, but is heading up here to do some snowboarding with Logan and I.
Freddy and I like to hang in the cave-like camper.
Oh Yeah.... Anyone up in freezing weather, while locked out of their vehicle due to the cold, should spray some WD40, thru the little straw, for a few seconds to de-ice the works. Thanks to my compadre "Lee Burningham", I managed to get the Hell Bitch home.....

Jan 26, 2009

Jan 26th 2009

Monday, Monday....

Students finishing off reports, lots of grading done. Taught 4 students how to play chess!! They seem to be hooked on the game now.

Freddie the wonder dog and I took the Hell Bitch out for a spin in a snow storm. Some Utah citizens need to have their license revolked. We played "dodge the idiot" while going to the indian convenience store, by the college, up the hill; in order to buy some MRE "meals ready to eat".

We bought the Alu Mutter, which is an excellent blend of peas, potatoes, and tomatos in a fire'y Indian sauce. Goes well with rice, or eat it by scoooping it up with a toasted tortilla over the skillet.

At one point we had to slam on the brakes of this 7000 pound beast and the dog found out where the windshield was. We went home in order to avoid the Logan rush hour.

After that Freddy and I hung out in the camper for a couple hours, listening to the oldies on my ETON AM/FM Shortwave radio. The radio is about 11" x 8" and thick enough to produce a decent sound. Much better sounding than my smaller Am/Fm Shortwave set. "Eton" builds the German "Grundig" radios. This radio will be my only contact with the outside world when staying up in the mountains or deserts. I still plan to blog each day, but I might not always be able to post everyday.

Low tech living is my choice. The K.I.S.S. principal is the way I chose to go as far as technology goes. Of course, I will have a wifi antenna, and a gps on the laptop. Probably will go with a small 50 watt solar panel, to keep the computer in power. All inside lights are battery powered, and we won't be using a frig or much else electric.

I really like the simplicity of Indian MRE's for dinner. They have a long shelf life, store in a small space, require no refrigeration, costs about $2.00 per meal (minus rice or tortilla costs), and are vegetarian, which probably can't hurt me too much. All you do is boil the bag in water for a few minutes and serve.

I will probably eat some fish and buy a steak on occasion. For breakfast I'll focus on oatmeal, pancakes, eggs, beans, and picante sauce. Lunch will consist of GORP, PBJ or Ramen.

These are all basic plans and ideas that I have researched well, and practice quite often. Soon I'll start spending the weekends in the local mountains for practice. I hope some of you will come along on my trips.

Jan 25, 2009


Surfed the net most of the day, researching everything from internet satellite systems to gps systems for laptops. I decide against the high tech satellite system in favor of using wardriving and hotspots for my internet needs. This means that when out of internet range, I'll have to post the daily blog in chunks rather than on the exact day.

Spent a half hour in my future home at 25 degrees F, with a light jacket and a 3.2 beer. I would have hooked up the heater but it seemed warm enough not to go through the hassle of hooking the heater to the propane (little tank was empty), since I was planning on leaving once the beer was gone.

Spent two hours reading "The adventures of Tioga and George" which is an excellent blog about boondocking and life on the road. Check out his excellent site!

Jan 24, 2009

Jan 24th 2009

Today was rainy and tropical. Usually the day/night temps are 4/20 F. Today it is 30 F to 40 F!!!! Today is downright tropical.

I hung out inside my freedom wagon "Hell Bitch" which consists of a 96' Ford f-250 and a small, old, well-preserved, truck camper. The camper is quite comfortable and warm with plenty of storage space. I paid $150 for the "bitch" and it is in fine shape. My dog "Freddy" and I plan to spend this upcoming summer living in her.

We plan to add much more equipment to the rig in the next few months. We will need a reciever hitch motorcycle carrier for my little Chinese dirt bike, and some sort of small boat to carry on the roof of the camper.

"Freddy" already loves the camper and we have spent many a swell evening chillin' out in the Hell Bitch. We can hardly wait to be out on the road for extended periods of time.