Tuesday, March 02, 2010




Thin high cloud cover early this morning made for a cool start to the day but by 9 the sun had vaporized the clouds & we were up & running with a very warm day.  I like when that happens.


Quick trip into Borrego Springs this morning to drop off some garbage, a few things at the grocery store, filled a couple jugs of water, & stopped into the Anza Borrego State Park Visitor's Center.  If you come to Borrego do not miss this place.  It is built into the side of a hill & the roof is actually a desert garden with pathways meandering among the many species of desert plant life here.  I didn't take a lot of pics because I did that last year & the year before.  We arrived just in time for an informative 15 minute show on Anza Borrego State Park.  Grabbed ourselves a schedule of upcoming events for the month of March & headed back to the rig with short stop at the library & local Coyote thrift store.

By the way, Borrego Springs has some very ritzy sections to it & here is one of them.  RITZY  Took these photos last year when we were here.

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A reader inquired about our flag pole set up so I took some pics this morning.  First thing, there are two kinds of poles.  A flag pole & a windsock pole.  Two different things.  In the pictures it is the green pole that is for the windsock.  That's the one I will end up stepping on & breaking at some point requiring another trip to Quartzsite next year.  That 16' pole is made of light fiberglass & just telescopes down into itself & is maybe 3' long.  The photos show the simple 2 piece plastic holders for that clamped to the ladder with band-it clamps.  Seconds to set the pole in or take out.  Can't tell you too much about professional flag poles because I made ours with an old broken hockey stick, some rope, & a whole lotta duct tape, plus a busted aluminum pole.  It's holder just simply bolts on to the rear ladder as well.  Got all that stuff in Quartzsite last year. 

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Gotta be real careful about where & how you fly your flags though.  It's a touchy subject to a lot of folks here in the States.  We used to just fly our Canadian flag but twice I was hastily approached by 2 separate irate RV'ers telling me I could not do that.  It was an insult to their country.  Not wanting to be the sole reason for having our 2 great countries go to war over a flag issue I did a little research on etiquette.  Well, that opens up a whole new can of worms as people on the RV NET FORUM well know.  Anyway, to make a long flag story short & keep the peace we now fly our Canadian flag underneath the American flag.  So far so good.  And, if anybody asks, our windsock is just simply a red & white windsock with a red leaf design on it......10-4:))

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In RICK'S BLOG this morning he blogged about putting together a Picasa talk for a group of people at his RV Park.  That got me to thinking a bit.  I've been using Picasa for quite awhile now & sort of have an idea about how it all works.  Maybe I'll start throwing in a few things I've learned & what I do to my photos to help them out.  I will start off today with the cropping tool.  This can be your most bestest friend in the whole Picasa program.  I see a lot of good photos that could be better with just a few clicks here & a few snips there.  I have salvaged many poorly composed photos by simply looking for another photo within the photo.  You may have to take a big chunk of sky or foreground out or eliminate parts of the sides.  Common mistake folks make with photos is to include way too much blank blue sky.  I've seen photos where blue eats up half to two thirds of the whole photograph.  Learn to use your cropping tool & get the majority of that sky out of your picture.  If the sky has big fluffy clouds, that's a different story & I'll talk about that later in, 'composition.'   If you made the mistake of centering your subject right smack dab in the middle of the picture then use your cropping tool to crop off one or the other side, or top or bottom thus, moving your subject off center.  Trust me, it's probably going to look a lot better than what you have.  I use this tool a lot & even when composing a shot I'm thinking ahead to how I may have to crop it later.  Remember, if you messed up the photo in the first place, chances are probably good that you can still salvage it in your Picasa program simply by re-composing it using your cropping tool.



I found Ken & Nanette's blog OUR ADVENTURE CHRONICLES interesting this morning when Ken fielded some questions from one of his readers about the RV lifestyle.  He has some good answers there & of course I have to throw my two cents worth into the mix as well.  First, yes it is one of many forms of lifestyles.  Fulltiming is a lifestyle of it's own just as snowbirding is.  People who do not have RV's have a different type of lifestyle just as Eskimo people live differently than traveling Bedouins in the Kalahari desert or wherever traveling Bedoins happen to travel.  I have blogged about this before several times saying our winters in the southwest & our summers in the northeast are two different lifestyles, which they are.  Neither one is a vacation & there are very few similarities between the two different lifestyles.  I have also blogged about the minor difficulties transitioning between the two lifestyles twice a year as well.


Before we got into RVing we dreamed about a wonderful world of travel & adventure just like most folks out there right now thinking along the same lines.  We couldn't wait to get ourselves out onto the open roads for the fun & excitement.  Nothing wrong with that way of optimistic thinking & it's what dreams are made of.  But, you have to remember one important thing.  Along with those dreams comes the very realistic side of........problems!!  Regardless of who or what you are, you will never ever be without problems.  You may have quit your job, retired, sold your house, downsized to a cottage or condo, or whatever.  No matter, you still got your problems.  And when you get yourself away from all that stuff & out onto the road you are still going to have....... your problems. 


Here's the way I see it.  Through life we are constantly burdened with ever changing sacks of problems.  Some bigger & heavier than others.  Whether you know it or not every human being on the planet is a constant customer at the 'problem store.'  It's probably the busiest store in the world.  When you tire of a set of problems, you take that sack to the problem store & get rid of it.  In other words you deal with that specific set of problems.  However, you do not walk out of that store problem free.  You only trade in that sack of old problems for a sack of new ones.  A sack of new problems is generally more exciting than that old sack you just traded in though.  I often tire of old ones & regularly trade them in for brand spanking new ones.DSC_0056

Ok, here's what I'm getting at & I'll direct this one more to the fulltiming folks even though it also applies to the rest of us in varying degrees.  You have a dream, you have a vision & you sell your house & all your stuff.  You have just been to the problem store & got rid of that whole sack of sticks & bricks lifestyle problems .   At last, what a relief:))  But, wait a minute, remember the rule.  It's only a trade in & now you must pick up your new set of problems.  It's mandatory & there is no getting out of it!!  You now exit the 'problem store with a complete new sack of problems.


Your new sack is going to contain some surprises for you.  Yes, there are still all the old stand-by favs like leaky plumbing, electrical headaches, leaking doors & window, carpet spills & stains, plugged toilets, hot water shortages, blackouts, leaky roofs, & furnace failures, etc. etc.  Some of the new surprises may come in the form of rooms (slides) becoming stuck & leaving you boondocked out in the middle of nowhere with no way to go anywhere.  Or how about one of your hydraulic jacks not retracting & leaving you in the same position as above.  Don't laugh, both those things have happened to us.  Other surprises hiding in your little sack of new problems might have to do with things like a sudden & messy break in a sewer line at a dumping station, wind gusts while driving or boondocking that are trying to totally eliminate you from the face of the planet, crowded campgrounds that require you to grease the sides of your unit to fit it into a space, hauling 50 or 60 feet or more through unfamiliar large cities, breakdowns, accidents, soaring fuel costs, shaky security, sudden or long term health issues with no immediate health services around, no personal physician,  no Tim Hortons for a thousand miles in any direction, blow outs on the interstates, & the endless list just goes on & on & on.  The fact of living in small box about 8 feet wide by 33 feet long for weeks, months, & years at a time generates it's own set of problems.  Throw in a cranky old Cursmudgeon & 3 aging dogs & the sack of problems just gets heavier for all concerned.



Anyway, I think you get my drift when I say the RV dream lifestyle has to looked at through totally realistic eyes.  However, don't look too hard or you just might be forced to abandon your dream focus.  You just may resolve yourself to hanging onto your old sack of problems.  You may convince yourelf that at least with them you know what to expect in their boring humdrum routine. 


But, you know what, gimme a new set of problems any day & let me go live & play where I wanna be.  Give me the cold nights, the big winds, the broken water pump, & the flat tires.  Just don't make me grind along any longer with the same heavy old sack of boring problems. 

Ya know what........I think I'm long overdue for a good old trip to the 'problem store'.....10-4!!

Welcome to new blog follower WILD BLUE YONDER  You have an under water turtle on your blogsite & we have a stone turtle here in the desert where we are boondocking.

GROANER'S CORNER:((   If a man is alone in the garden and speaks, and there is no woman to hear him,
is he still wrong?


BLOGGER WEBSITE http://thebayfieldbunch.com/

OUR PHOTO ALBUMS http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy/

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.


  1. Wonderful and very well put. Just what I needed to hear. I wouldn't trade my situation for the situation I was in 5 years ago.

  2. I loved this post. We were long-timers before going fulltime so have quite a bit of experience in many of the "sacks of problems" you mentioned. Nothing in life is guaranteed, and that includes a problem free life (or lifestyle). But you are right, in that the RV lifestyle is worth putting up with some, or all, of those sacks from time to time. We've just had our own experience with a "problem sack" this past week and it did not dampen our spirits in the least. If anyone out there who thinks by going fulltime or long-time that they will have all those sacks vanish, is in for a rude awakening. The trade off for living a dream, even for a short time, is alluring. If we can do this dream of ours for 2 years or 10 years, we are happy we took the chance to learn more about the world we are traveling in and about the different folks we meet along the way.

    Thanks, Al, for reminding us all of how it can (and most likely will) be. It is worth the risks.

  3. Al,

    What you wrote about full timing -- Very Well Stated!

    To give people a realistic view of this lifestyle is a great service in my opinion.

    To provide people with information that allows them to make decisions with their eyes wide open is something that I think a lot of people will appreciate.

    Ken and Nanette

  4. Sometimes those new sacks can sideline you for quite a while as it has for us. But you deal with those problems. Full-timing didn't CAUSE our current problem, living did. Difference is simply that we are using a somewhat different way to solve the problem, and soon will be back on the road for a while, seeing what NEW sack of problems we'll find! That's the fun part of problems - each one is new and, in a way, exciting!

  5. Great blog post (as usual) Al. Good for thinking thoughts!

    We already know we want to full time in 2013 and we already have the rig to go. We are not *touristy travelers* but more the type to relax in the woods and ease of living travelers.

    Our *sacks* are small on the rig side because we do almost all our own maintenance and repairs. We are all set up and would be ready to leave tomorrow if Steve could retire right now and pull his pension.

    But the *sacks* are big on why we would not be keeping the house. I think for us, we have 3 big reasons to sell the house (besides increasing taxes) are the costs of maintaining, heating and insuring a vacant home in the north for the winter. Making it appear lived in, snow removal etc.

    Right now we are very comfortable with hitting the road for 5-6 weeks at a time. And look forward to more.

    I think when it's time to turn homeward, is it that you can't wait to get home..... Or do you yearn to keep going?

    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/

  6. A very good post Al. You are correct, everyone carries around their "sacks of problems", no matter what their situation may be.

    As for the photo cropping, I will start experimenting more with that function, thanks.

  7. Al, thats the best way i have ever had life discribed, life in which ever way you live it is a differnt adventure every day.Some days the sack is heavy and other days not to bad.Love your blog

  8. As I sit in a Hotel room waiting for my rig to be fixed because of someone trying to drive through me. I can honestly say I have really enjoyed and will continue this life style. My only complaint about this way of life is that there isn't enough boondocking sites on the east of the continent. I find the less you have to deal with people the more life you get to live without insult or injury! I'll keep you posted on how they are throwing the tatters at me. I've been enjoying a couple of sites that i came across.. sweettooth.typepad.com and freelylivinglife.blogspot.com

  9. Well, my 'problem sack' was pretty much empty until I read your blog, Al. Now, I have to go back and look at some of my pics to make sure I don't have "too much blue sky" in them. And silly me always thought "nothing but blue skies, from now on" was always a good thing. Problems, problems, problems - what am I ever going to do?

  10. Wherever you go, there you are. There is no escaping life and to think you can have utopia is just dreaming. My lifestyle has changed many times over the years and I have always had problems - most I solved, but not all. Fulltiming has its rewards but if anyone thinks it is always perfect just doesn't have their eyes open.

    I have worked for the US government my entire life and I know flag etiquette. Somehow, I think human being etiquette trumps all, and to go up to someone (especially from another country) to complain about how they fly their flag is beyond my comprehension. Please let me apologize for those Americans' behavior.

  11. Thanks for the warm welcome !
    Although we aren't "fulltiming" just yet, we are really looking forward to our new sack of problems. Has to be better than driving to work every morning along the same road and coming back to the same house... etc (you get the picture).

    Your photos are awesome, and your words inspiring.

    I love your tag line too!

    Thanks again for the great welcome and perhaps we will get the opportunity to boondock next to you someday (not too close of course!)

    Wild Blue Yonder

  12. I've found that almost ANY subject can turn into a can-of-worms at RV.net. ;)


  13. I snuck up on Wandering Willy last nite in Marysville and surprised him!
    You can read about it on his blog.

    Gosh, are there any famous bloggers that I haven't met :-)


  14. Hey there. I just found your blog from Ken and Nanette's blog and I wanted to leave a few comments.

    #1 I like your sense of humor and writing style. I'll be back.

    #2 Your flower pictures are gorgeous. Another reason to return.

    #3 The answer to the question in your Groaner's Corner tagline is: Of course, silly boy.