So the other night I was cleaning up and I smelled a funny smell. I thought I’d dropped a piece of meat and it was rotting or a mouse crawled up inside somewhere and died. I really didn’t think much about it and went on with my day.
I’d left to go do something and when I came back, the rotten smell was worse. I began to tear apart the camper looking for the offending smell. I opened the windows and lit some candles to try and cover it up.
Fast foward to next morning – I get up and am going about my morning routine and I smell the smell again. I was getting pissed that I couldn’t find it. I was putting the dishes away and I pulled up the towel on the stove (I’ve been just putting a couple of towels over the burners of the stove for a drying rack since I have no space for a real one) when I noticed that the burner was not turned off! I’d been smelling propane! For 16 fucking hours! While smoking and having candles lit! Thank God I had the sense to keep the windows opened. Feeling a bit lucky today.
If you count the multiple items, it’s way over 100. Living on the road and pseudo-hoarding don’t mix. The key to successfully living in your camper on the road is to learn how to embrace your minimalist self, and if that doesn’t exist – to find one at your local discount store and have it installed in your right lobe.
I can’t turn around without knocking something on the floor, It’s ridiculous. Every storage space in the camper is full, the truck bed and back seat are full and I still have to stack stuff outside. I thought this would be a good cure for my thrift store addiction, but it hasn’t.
I have gotten better at throwing stuff out. i no longer pretend I’m going to fix it later, install it on Wednesday or reorganize it on the weekend. If I can’t find a place for it or it isn’t working 1000% correctly at the moment, it gets chucked or put out on the picnic table with a FREE sign next to it.
So I finally broke away from the campground I’ve been staying at since November and moved on. I arrived in Statesville, GA yesterday at 7am just in time to get set up for work. I’m staying at the Mill Creek Equestrian Center outside of town and it’s amazing – 140 acres of horse pasture, lake, forest and housing for the owners and workers. They give riding lessons, board horses and have a horse camp for kids. My buddy is the assistant manager for the place and invited me to come stay for a couple of days. Some pictures below.
Frustration and Drama Arrive
I almost didn’t get here. I got so frustrated on Wednesday night trying to get everything ready to go I about started to cry. I got everything packed up and was getting ready to hook up the trailer to the truck. This is about 9pm, so it’s dark and I’m working against a time deadline – I don’t want to make a lot of noise past 10 so I’m trying to hurry. I couldn’t get the stupid sway control bars put on for the life of me. They just weren’t going in. So it was getting close to 10 so I decided stay and give it another shot in the morning. I think the issue was how the camper and truck where with regards to alignment but it was too hard to see and I was getting pissed. It wouldn’t have mattered, I couldn’t find the hitch pins anyway. Aargh. Sometime I just want to kick myself.
and more arrives….
So then I couldn’t get the truck to disconnect from the camper – the hitch latch was not moving up as it should. I cussed and yelled and finally just got in my truck and tried to go to sleep in the truck. After I while, I went back to the camper, moved the monitors to one side of the bed and made a little room for myself to sleep.
When I got up, I had a slightly better attitude but I still couldn’t get the sway bars connected. I decided to see what it was like to haul the camper without them and took off towards Stateboro. Well, my phone died and then the light on the camper stopped working so I stopped at a stop sign and remedied both of those issues.
The camper didn’t sway too much without the bars, but i didn’t drive much over 50. I obviously made it to Statesboro in one piece.
But the silver lining appears….
Luckily my buddy know a lot about trailers and hitches and hookups so I am going to engage his assistance. Funny story – I was on my way home from one of my Augusta excursions and was driving through Statesboro when I got a message on Grindr. It was from my buddy from Des Moines. A few years ago he and his partner moved to Stateboro for a job, but I didn’t really know at the time exactly where he was going so I didn’t know he was here. It was great to reconnect and timely as I needed a place to park for a couple of days and some assistance with my trailer so it all worked out for the best.
I’m much more relaxed now and don’t have the desire to throw it all down and go back home. I was pretty frustrated.
I rarely write or talk about politics. I think that the topic has become so divisive that it has become a threat to our well being. Our communities are being torn apart as we are almost forced to choose between two sides that encourage us to hate each other. We all know (or I hope that the majority of us are smart enough to realize) that this is being executed as designed. The two major parties pick a topic that engages our emotions so strongly that we forget that if we step back and take a look at things, we all want the same things – a safe place to live, enough food on our table, good education for our kids, and a little bit left over for some fun. Nobody can argue against that.
This machine that divides us has infinite power. Some how Trump has learned the secret to loyalty, his followers will do anything he says and nothing that he does can turn them against him. Let’s look at some of the things should turn any normal, semi-intelligent being to think twice about this horror of a man:
His association with Jeffrey Epstein, the sex-trafficker who killed himself after being found guilty. Trump called him “a great guy” and a “lover of beautiful women, sometimes on the young side.”
His attempt to turn the US into a dictatorship, throwing democracy to the wind. This, alone should be enough to turn any US Citizen who spends their time quoting the constitution regarding the right to bear arms to be afraid that the document they hold so dear was almost shredded into nothingness on that 6th day of January.
His statement to Iowans after a school shooting in Perry “get over it and move on”
Fraud, money laundering and tax evasion.
Telling Americans to inject disinfectant to kill Covid-19 on national television.
His statement that the Civil War could have been ‘negotiated’, his praise of artwork by White Supremacists and pandering to the far-right wing Christians.
The fact that he faces 91 charges in several cases across several states.
His promotion of conspiracy theories, racism and misogony.
I could go on, but I shouldn’t need to. Not only is this person not a good candidate, he’s not a good person. I’m certainly glad that when my great-great grandfather arrived here from Sweden that someone like him wasn’t in office claiming that we were “poisoning the blood” of America.
Now I’m no Biden fan either, but one cannot ignore the following facts:
Unemployment rates are at a historic low of 3%.
There are more new small businesses than any other time period on record.
There are over 11 million new jobs.
We are on track to rebuild our failing infrastructure of roads, bridges, electrical grid, passenger rail system and are investing in cleaner energies that will have to replace our dependence on coal.
Women and Black Americans have made historic gains in pay equality.
Paved the way for the legalization of marijuana by pardoning all prior Federal convictions of possession, encouraging governors to do the same, and by creating a panel to re-class and re-thing the approach we take on the drug.
Only 8% of Americans remain without health insurance.
Wages have risen
Inflation has decreased.
Ideally a third party candidate could win the election. I think I’m done voting for any party who’s goal is to divide and conquer. We should be about uniting a nation rather than dividing it.
Recently the clerk of Rown County Kentucky lost a court case in which she was sued for not signing marriage licenses of same-sex couples due to her religious beliefs. She was ordered to pay $100,000 to the couple along with court costs.
This brings up several issues – individual freedoms, religious freedom, and separation of church and state.
Should this clerk be allowed to have religious beliefs that contradict her civic duties? Yes, of course – the constitution allows for religious freedom. This concept is one of the reasons why the US sought and won independence from Great Britian. Does this permit her to deny another US citizen their constitutional right to get married? No. Should she leave her religious beliefs at home when she comes to work at her government job? Absolutely. The separation of church and state disallows the government from adopting a single religion or favoring one – religion has no place in government.
This is a no brainer. It’s very clear and although the media states that it is a complex issue, it really isn’t. It’s very. clear. Perhaps if your beliefs contradict your job duties you should find another job. In this case the voters took care of that for her. She wasn’t re-elected.
So I can’t be without at least 3 projects going on simultaneously without completely losing my mind. One of the three that I’ve been working on lately is remodeling the camper. It was very cramped and crowded in there and I didn’t really have enough space so I decided to remove the dinette and turn it into an office and then flipped the bed around and make a bench put in a credenza and give myself a little more space. I constantly trip over shit and I’m constantly swearing it everything and I thought that a little more space would be good for everybody involved (you know voices in my head). Below is a picture of what was before and what is now and how I created a bunch of space.
as you can see, I’ve created a little more space as you walk in the door and a lot more space with the dinette used to be. One thing I didn’t mention is that I converted the shower into a closet I just shower in the campground showers. I’ve also taken it upon myself to paint the entire place. I’ve chosen a nice light black almost a gray for all of the cabinets and a deep blue for accent walls and then a nice gray for the rest of the walls I’ve purchased a decal that is the night sky. I’m going to place around the bed as that wall curves up into the ceiling. I’ve placed rope light and sporadic fashion across the ceiling so I don’t really have the overhead bright lights that a camper provides and added a few other lighting additions to make it nice. I still have way too much stuff and I can’t seem to get everything put away at the same time so everything’s always just kind of messy and I start a project and everything gets put everywhere and it becomes a problem lol.
The challenges that I found when painting a camper especially when you’re living in it: If you want to take the cabinet doors off, you only have room to put one somewhere to dry so taking the cabinet door off, painting it on one side, allowing it to dry turning it over pinion the other side, allowing it to dry turning it back over repainting the first side turning it over repainting the second side takes about four days, it was making me crazy so I gave it up and just started painting with the doors on. There’s nowhere to put anything so in order to paint you have to move stuff around they’re just isn’t room so unless you have a lot a large outdoor space that you know it’s not gonna rain. It’s really difficult to do painting in a camper that you’re living in. The paint store is about 35 minutes away so I’ve had to go back there three times because I’ve run out of paint and I decided one of the colors I got it first I didn’t like so that’s been also a challenge if you don’t have the materials. it’s been a project though.
The other thing I learned about being in a camper is that you constantly have to recheck the seals on the outside because the rain will come in and the sealant that you put up there won’t last forever. In fact I sealed before I left and it already needs to be resealed again. I looked outside after a storm the other day and there’s plastic like Camper sealant all over the place and it’s almost depressing. I really hope that I’m not destroying the inside of the camper and it gets moldy. I’ve taken the suggestions of some online forums and purchased two dehumidifiers – one of them is doing a really good job in the bathroom and the one in the main room doesn’t seem to be collecting any water – so I don’t know what’s going on with that. I think it might be broken, but it’s important to keep the humidity in the camper or it will start to mold especially if you cook and shower in the camper.
I’m definitely liking my new strategy of staying in one place for a longer period of time rather than jumping around each week.
After Lake Meadows in Missouri, I spent two weeks in Canon, Georgia at a campground called In the Woods. It’s a private, membership based campground that sits deep in the woods in the mountains of North Eastern Georgia. The road to get the campground was narrow (single vehicle), dirt and covered by trees and bushes. A bit intimidating for me but I made it in and out.
The coyotes howled each night and boy they were loud and close. The campground was a mix of short term, medium term and long term campers and there was a definite sense of community there. Very helpful and friendly folks and nice surroundings.
I think I’ll be back.
After Canon, I headed south to Collins, GA – again pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I had previously reserved a spot at the Hideaway and of course arrived late. They kept the office. open for me and once again I set up in the dark. Getting pretty good at that.
Like the campground in northeastern Georgia, this one too has great community. It is run by a guy and his mother, and they have really made a nice spot. There are several areas with RV sites, tent sites, and big motorhomes, and they also have several cabins and a bunk house that can be rented. There is a pool, a hot tub, a community club that opens as a bar on the weekends (more on this later), laundry facilities and several showers.
There are residents here that started out as campers but didn’t want to leave so many people are here full time. They have a bunch of activities that they put on (just got back from a pot luck today) and damn Georgia likes to decorate for Christmas. There are more lights here than Vegas, I swear. It’s pretty set up. Liking it so much that I booked an extra month here which will have me here from October
Interesting fun fact: The county I’m staying in doesn’t have any bars. Well, except for one. And it’s in the campground that I’m staying at. Evidently the laws just don’t exist yet for serving alcohol here yet – It can be sold (but only in packaging stores) but it can’t be served. Unless it’s a private event/party/location, which this is but they can’t charge. So when the bar is open here, it’s free. Evidently the campground owner has been working with county officials for years to figure out how this could work and it’s in the works, but has been a long process. In the meantime, I’ll drink for free!
(as a side note, I can’t believe it took me so long to figure out this county had no bars!)
So I’ve spend the last two weeks at a campsite in Northeast Georgia. This one’s a bit more rustic than the others – it’s in the middle of the woods in the middle of the mountains right next to nowhere. It’s very relaxing. The campground has a pool, a club house, walking trails and some really nice people. Very peaceful. I’ll be back.
Tomorrow I leave for Southeast Georgia where I will set up camp until December 23rd, at least. It’a about a 3 1/2 hour drive so it will be an easy day. The weather is supposed to be really nice (like 70s) so I’m looking forward to a drive without the rain.
The weather here has been amazing – 60s and 70s the whole time. It rained a couple of days but it hasn’t been real cold.
I had a coffee incident a couple of days ago. I was reorganizing the kitchen and I dropped my coffee maker on the floor. Oh the drama without coffee! I quickly replaced it, got the same on that I broke, it’s this Keurig single cup model in red. I love this thing – so compact and efficient (unless you drop it).
My Propane supply is lasting pretty well – I replaced both cannisters when I got here and am still on the same one. I’ve used the heat some nights, and cooked with it but it seems to be lasting longer than before. Not sure why.
I used to worry that my refrigerator wasn’t getting cold enough but the opposite is true: It has been freezing everything. After doing some research I found out that there is a little slide next to the condensors in the back that is supposed to control the temperature. Moving it around doesn’t seem to be helping. I’m defrosting the freezer today in the hopes that it will help but I”m tired of eating frozen lettuce. Aargh.
So Navigator finally gave up on the negotiator that was working with us and assigned us a third person. This one was awesome. She came to our house and shot the shit straight out. She was down to earth, human and told the story as it was.
We worked with her for a bit and actually finally came to an agreement. She sent the paperwork off to Navigator and then we heard nothing. And a whole lot more of nothing.. And then? More nothing. NO AND THEN.
Turns out that Navigator scrapped their pipeline plans for Iowa altogether. I guess they were having issues with permits and getting enough landowners to sign on that they trashed the whole project. BIG WIN!
This tool is halfway between a spreadsheet and a database and is the most user friendly software i think I have ever used. It allows non-technical users to create banks of data that is useful for them. It also allows techy type people to add interfaces, scripting and extensions that integrate with anything.
I built a database for this trip that includes everything I need – campgrounds, routes, camper inventory, appointments, gas expenses, the whole 9 yards and then does a nice job of summarizing things with not a lot of effort on the part of the user. Probably my #1 online favorite tool.
Another tool I’ve been using is ChatGPT by Open AI. It’s become invaluable by helping me arrange travel, come up with reasonable routes given my timeframe, making camping reservations and keeping me out of the cold weather (well, mostly). Check out a tidbit of a ongoing conversation I’m having with the tool. It’s helped me immensely.
Not only has it helped me with routing and reservations, it has generated all of the state images you see on the right side. These are original images that I created using ChatGPT and the Dall-e plugin. I keep the requests in the same chat window and everytime I request a state, a new image is created using the same style as the others.