Archive for April, 2009

Happy Birthday Patrick (aka Mik)!

April 28th, 2009

City of Villains Reunion

The attacking thug is barely worthy
of notice as he is much lower level

Oops. We missed Patrick’s 40th birthday by a few days here on the blog, but that’s because we were hanging out with the old man himself, along with many of his family and friends near Seattle, WA. Patrick is a friend I met playing City of Villains a couple of years ago. In a game that had amazing PVP and a strongly PVE oriented community, it was great to find a like-minded soul that was more interested in beating up on real live hero scum than fighting the AI. Patrick was the driving force behind organizing and training one of the few villain PVP groups and the only one I’m aware of that could challenge and beat the experienced hero groups. He also has a wicked sense of humor that kept us all going during the long leveling grind.

Since we were ‘in the neighborhood’, you know – west of the Mississippi and north of California, we had to drop in for the little shindig he was throwing. His family is just as great and it’s easy to see how Patrick has become such a gracious person, surrounded by so many warm and friendly people. They were kind enough to provide us a place to park for three nights in a wonderfully quiet clearing within sight of the Puget Sound. I don’t think it would be possible for a group of people to treat complete strangers any nicer than they treated us. By the end of the weekend, we felt as if we’d known everyone for ten years instead of three days.

Double Piggyback Ride

Roman and Jaden attack!

In fact, the entire weekend became a mini City of Villains reunion. Morgan, another of Patrick’s friends and gaming buddies recently moved to Seattle from Juneau, making three of us. Morgan also helped set up the surprise guest, Jeremy’s arrival from Colorado. Jeremy was yet another of the guys we used to play City of Villains with. By mid-day Saturday, we could have been geeking out hardcore if we’d only had enough machines for everyone to play on. Fortunately, we didn’t and the rest of the party wasn’t forced to watch Patrick playing video games for the entire weekend. =)

The weekend was a non-stop riot of amazing Alaskan seafood, games of all sorts (except video games!), fun and interesting people, and for anyone that stood still too long – swarms of ninja kids looking for attention, caffeine, sugar, or preferably, all three! We’re going to be in the area for a few weeks waiting on passports and hope we can get together with Patrick, Caro, Tony, Siobhan and Roman again before we head across the border.

Left For Dead In Joshua Tree NP

April 22nd, 2009

I got my taxes squared away. Unfortunately, Johnny was still doing his and seemed like he would be for hours. I wasn’t in any mood to lounge around the camper and decided it was time for some fun. So, I talked Johnny into unhooking the scooter for me and proceeded into Joshua Tree National Park. I wasn’t sure if we were going to drive in there before we left our boondocking area just outside of the park, and I wanted to see a damn Joshua Tree.

White Tank Campground - Joshua Tree NP

After working the scooter through the loose sand, I hit Cottonwood road and headed into the park. It was a pleasant ride, albeit slow. The first part was all up hill and the scooter was moving between 10 and 15mph. It was during this part of the trip that I realized I didn’t bring a jug of water. Not good. Once I made it up to the visitors center it sped up to about 30mph. From then on, it was smooth sailing. I stopped at all of the various markers and checked out some Ocotillo trees in bloom. I was lucky enough to see a rare purple aster that supposedly only grows in this area. The only wildlife I saw were a few lizards and a rabbit. No sheep for me… sigh. After a long ride in the Colorado desert, I finally made it in to the Mojave. I looked at my fuel gauge, but it hadn’t moved. I decided to go all of the way to White Tank Campground.

When I arrived there I was overcome by the scenery. The giant boulders surrounded by Joshua Trees were an awesome sight. I was so entranced I almost didn’t notice the time or my fuel gauge. I didn’t have a clock, but the sun was pretty low in the sky. The gauge read 3/4 tank. I thought, “Plenty of time and fuel, but I should head back.” I got to see a Joshua Tree! Too bad it took 30 miles.

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Mud And Life On The Moon

April 13th, 2009

Once we left Slab City, we went to check out the nearby mud pots as Ryan and Nicole suggested. After I wandered around for a while, we finally located them. That is, after a group of people who showed up with their own personal tour guide headed right for them. We were only given the cross streets for directions and being as I had never seen a mud pot before, I had no idea what to look for. I kept expecting them to be near water. However, they were in the middle of what appeared to be a dried up lake bed. My father the earth science teacher would be disappointed in me.

Mud Pot Eruption
Mud Pot Eruption

If you haven’t seen one before, I highly suggest it. Its not something us east coasters see every day. They are called mud pots, but I think that most of them looked more like mud volcanoes. They were four or so foot tall mounds that blew carbon dioxide and mud. The shorter ones blew more mud bubbles. They were the most interesting. The ones that were lower than the land around them acted more like boiling water pots than mud pots.

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Life in the back of a truck (part 4)

April 9th, 2009

This is part of an ongoing series on what it’s like to live in a truck camper fulltime. You may read other articles here:

  1. Part One – The fulltime lifestyle
  2. Part Two – Why a truck camper?
  3. Part Three – Weights & Dealing with them
  4. Part Four – Boondocking resource conservation

Gordon recently posed a question over at the Truck Camper Magazine blog that seemed like a great idea for the next part of our Life in the back of a truck series. He’s curious just how long his readers can boondock and what tricks they use to manage it. I got a bit long winded, but here’s my response.

The resources we have to work with are:

  • 46 gallons of fresh water
  • ~300 amp hours of battery in 2 Trojan T-1275 12V batteries
  • 60 pounds of propane in 2 30# tanks
  • A Honda eu2000i generator
  • ~4.5 gallons of gasoline plus whatever is in the scooter and generator (up to around 2 gallons if both are full)

Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Still, we manage to do fairly well when we find a place we want to stay for a while. It takes a little effort to conserve resources, but we manage to live quite comfortably for up to a two week stretch without running out of anything or breaking out a military desert survival handbook. Just how do we make these resources last and what sacrifices does it take, you ask? Well, read on to get a taste of the Hitek Homeless lifestyle!

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Slab City or bust!

April 6th, 2009

Internut - Slab City Library

After we left Quartzsite, our next ‘destination’ was Slab City, just outside of Niland, CA. First though, we really had to do some shopping before I broke into the emergency can of baked beans. So, we hit Brawley, which is about twenty miles south of the Slabs. As long as we were in town, Jenn wanted to get some work done on the freecampsites website, so we endured horribly slow internet for a night, under the assumption that we’d have no internet at all once we hit Slab City.

Go figure. Slab City had the best EVDO connection we’d seen since we left Phoenix. In fact, it’s so good they have an internut connection in the lending library. Speaking of the library, I was really impressed with the selection of books available and found my share very quickly. I rather wish I’d spent more time in the library as I could have dug around for a few gems instead of grabbing the first half dozen titles that looked interesting.

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