Ridge Walking – New Mexico

March 19th, 2009

The great thing about ridge walking in New Mexico is that there aren’t any trees. Well, at least not in the areas that we were looking for caves. As we drove down many a dirt road in the Guadalupe Mountains, we saw quite a few caves from our vehicle. The bad thing is that they were on mountains across the desert and we were pressed for time to find a place to sleep. Still, its quite a bit easier than on the East Coast. There, we spent hours upon hours searching for caves. In the summer, we searched through dense brush. In the fall, we shuffled through the fallen leaves and turned up nothing. In New Mexico, we could see the caves from the comfort of our truck.

In New Mexico, the mountains were dotted with cave systems. On one dirt road, North West of Carlsbad Caverns, I saw four of them on the same mountain. As usual, Johnny wasn’t able to scout, because he was driving, so I showed them to him. He then pointed out that they were moooving.

Maybe I should wear my glasses more often. That way I wont end up sticking my head in a cow.

A new vidiot box

January 28th, 2009

Yep, in spite of knowing I shouldn’t be watching a lot of TV, I do miss some of the PBS type programming from time to time. In addition, we might watch an hour or so of random network television before the commercial overload kicks in and ruins the viewing experience. Our initial plan was to get a USB dongle and connect to one of the laptops whenever we felt like watching a bit of TV, but up until the end of the year, we never got around to it.

Well, I bought us a Avertv Hybrid Volar Max for Christmas. We’ve only just been using it the past few days, but I’ve got to say I’m quite happy with the functionality. I really expected HDTV to be much less reliable for us compared to analog TV as we’re often out in the middle of nowhere.

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Sorry about that butt shaped divot in your couch!

January 24th, 2009

After two months sitting around in a house and sinking further and further into the couch, we’re finally back on the road. Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time with Jenn’s aunt, uncle, cousins and the grand kids, but we made the mistake of hooking up the idiot box. Now, I can pretty easily sit in front of the tube all day if there are enough movie channels to keep me interested. I KNOW it’s dumb and not the best way to spend my time and have spent most of the last ten years without TV or without cable at the least. Still, when it’s available, I think ‘well, it’s temporary, so I can indulge’.

Somehow, we finally got motivated and winterized the house, moved stuff back to the camper and hit the road. However, we’d lost some hobo mojo and things went wrong the moment we tried to leave. First we got enough snow to make driving a bit hazardous for two days, then we developed a leak in the camper (probably from the thaw/ice cycle of the snowfall), broke a PVC pipe while disconnecting the house water and the camper fridge went on the fritz.

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TDOMF and Geo Mashup Harmony

December 13th, 2008

-> Scroll down or click here for my Geo Mashup – TDO Miniforms solution <-

So much for being on an extended vacation. For the last couple of days I have been completely engrossed in building a new website. I have fallen back into my old habits of staying up all night and coding, getting some sleep, grabbing some coffee, and coding some more. Ah, just like the good old days. The ones before the corporate machine killed any enjoyment that that behavior gave me.

Back in those days, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal didn’t exsist. You (I) did everything by hand. You wanted a web based file manager, a web based mysql manager, or a bulletin board? You wrote it. Now, we have all of these wonderful content management systems with tons of great plugins. But, they come with their own head aches too. You want a certain kind of functionality? Time to start hacking.

Thank god for open source.

Tonight I ran into that situation. From what I have read, a lot of other people have too. So, I decided to post my solution in hopes that it helps some one else.
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Life in the back of a truck (part 1)

November 20th, 2008

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

So, you want to live in the back of a truck… First off, you should probably face the fact that you’re a bit of an odd duck. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about some of the things that you’ll encounter along the way to making this grandiose fantasy a reality.

Where are you from?
You’re going to hear this question a lot as you travel around. It’s simply a polite thing to ask strangers that “aren’t from around here”. There are a few schools of thought as to how one should answer this question. You can tell people where you left “real life” from if you are in a hurry and don’t want to explain how you come to be living in that truck over yonder. If you’re dealing with a business or government agency, it’s usually simplest to give the address of your mail forwarding service or the address on your driver’s license.

The next two options are a pretty good way to strike up a conversation, so use them carefully as you may end up trying to explain yourself to a posse in the wrong town. You can simply tell the truth and explain that you’re traveling. This can lead to all sorts of interesting questions such as “are ya’ll circus folk/gypsies/carnies/hippies/destitute?”. I wouldn’t recommend telling the cashier at a local business this, but it goes over well at campgrounds. Events that bring a lot diverse folks together are also a good bet. You’ll have to explain yourself a lot more, but as you’re there to meet people anyway, it gives you an interesting topic to talk about. A lot of people are curious about the fulltime RV lifestyle and have lots of questions. The final answer to “where are you from?” is to say “I grew up in…”. This is a polite way of making smalltalk without committing yourself to answering a lot of personal questions from complete strangers.

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