Facepalm, Wildlife, Saving Energy & Money, Budget Travel, House Stuff

Both of my dogs have decided they need to guard me while I’m sleeping, and, really…what better way to do that than sleep right next to me. So next to me, in fact, that a couple of mornings I woke up and Rider’s head is laying on the pillow next to mine. I roll over and he just lays there like he’s the king.

Rumor is lower in household seniority so her job is to guard my lower half. Then, as I start to stir in the morning she moves farther up and up for some scratches as Rider gets up to stretch. Of course, he has to stretch his fat self across me, nearly crushing me, turning around to bite me playfully in the process.

I decided to put out the bird feeders and fill thyme up to chum for birds. I’ve been getting quite the selection of various birds showing up, like cardinals, thrush, chickadees, a woodpecker and an few others. I’ve had turkeys in the yard, and one morning I woke up to a hawk sitting in a tree right outside the window tearing apart a meal. There’s been a resident hawk sitting in a tree back by the pond; I see him several times a day and he’s a huge bird. It’s probably a quarter mile back and he’s huge from there. He’s been sitting there a lot the last few days, and when I looked back yesterday I saw a bald eagle flying around.

I’m pretty happy that I have filled the propane tank for the house only once so far this year. I’m $1000 ahead on my propane contract and only used half of that filled tank so far. The contract starts August 1st and runs about nine months. It is based on the previous year’s usage of the house so my energy savings efforts this year will help immensely next year. With my efforts to save energy I have not had to even pay on my contract for several months now and more than likely won’t have to pay anything more this year and maybe next. I’ll get it filled once before my contract is up for the year and will probably see a sizable refund.

The basement is starting to look much better. I did more organizing and going through stuff, bagging more garbage along the way. I’ll be moving more of the bags and junk upstairs & outside to haul off, giving me even more room to organize. It was a total cluster just inside the basement door, but it’s now cleared out and made more usable space to clean up and organize the rest. I can make good use of the various cabinets & shelves to put things on now that they have been made accessible.

I just saw an interesting article about sleeping in your car while traveling and it took me back to days of yore. In the past I have done this many times.

Yeah, I’m pretty familiar with car sleeping and there’s many tales from those adventurous times. I used to (and still) do a lot of last-minute trips. It’s more convenient now that I have the trailer, but back in the day it was car sleeping, a tent, or sleeping on the ground. I’d get home from work on a Friday and decide to go somewhere and leave as soon as I had a few supplies in my car. I had been laid off so I had plenty of time…just no money.

Back in the 70s & 80s, and even into the 90s, it was still relatively safe and overnight camping in rest areas was usually allowed. Whenever I was heading west to Colorado I’d leave and drive all night, many times fist-fighting the Sandman to try to get to the now-defunct Deer Trail rest area just east of Denver. Choice of radio stations during all of those many I-70 travels was one station on AM and nothing else. I remember the joy when one FM station finally popped up, turning me on to a new style of music through a late-night show called “Hearts of Space”. This was probably the forerunner to my love for progressive rock, though some of the music, and announcing, was a little too calming at three in the morning in the middle of Kansas! You sure didn’t hear this music on Kansas City radio and it was a nice change.

Once there it was time to find a spot to park and try to get a few hours of sleep before finding some breakfast and pushing on through Denver and on up into my favorite places in the mountains to camp. The lot was usually fairly full, mainly with trucks waiting to deliver in Denver after businesses were opened.

On the way back I’d maximize my time by leaving as late as possible, driving all night, and going straight to my job from the road. I did that several times. Getting home a day early to rest was for the weak; I going straight to work after driving 11 hours. No way I can do that now (especially since I don’t work!) but I did it many times back then.

When I had my old Jeep a friend and I went to CO and camped for a week in the mountains. On the way back we decided to stop and sleep in a rest area. Being a CJ-5 it was tight on space to nap inside so we actually slept on the pavement under the Jeep to keep an eye on stuff plus keep the morning dew at bay. This was around the time when problems with crime were beginning to happen sporadically at rest areas and they were starting to restrict over night stays.

When living in CO I remember a trip to Utah with Meghan where we left after work and drove until we couldn’t go anymore. We ended up in the first UT rest area west of Grand Junction rather late. It was June and it was still very warm. Meghan kicked back in the car and I slept on top of a concrete picnic table.

Another adventure was a trip to TN. Trying to get far and fighting sleep while driving too late, I faintly remember finally pulling over in a rest area to get a few hours of sleep. Next thing I know, I woke up a few hours later because it was about 120° F in the Cherokee – and we had all the doors open because it was so hot. Oh, and the engine was still running! LOL.

No matter where you are you have to eat and sleep. I’d get some food together: Spam, packages of ramen, mac & cheese, beef jerky, peanut butter & jelly, chips…whatever I had at home so I would have to buy as little as possible. I would sleep in my car since I had no money to even pay for a camping spot. Even though I was broke I still had fun and it really helped to show me the importance of “getting away”.

I once went to Colorado with about $100 to cover ALL of my expenses for a week…and even came back with money left over. My small import car got 42 MPG and gas was cheap then. I stayed in National Forests, relying on dispersed campsites that are always free.

But, it was fun to do as a young, adventurous free-spirit. It showed me that even with very little money I could have a big time. It was fun, challenging, and it was very rewarding. It also ingrained in me these things for traveling later in life. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have fun and see & do things. There’s plenty of free stuff to see. Plus, if you go cheap, you can go more often. To me that is more important. I slept on the ground many times, both with a tent & without. I’ll rough it to get away was always my thought.

But, these days I have my trailer and I have really gotten so much use out of it like my mom wanted me to do. It really makes travel so much easier but it is still work setting up; not as much fun as setting up a tent in a thunderstorm though! After going to Alaska and renting an RV for the first time I thought “Yeah, I can get used to this pretty quickly”. The ease of going camping was just as nice as the comfort.

Nowadays, with all the problems with crime, I usually don’t park in parking lots. Even the option of sleeping in a Walmart parking lot is pretty sketchy (many vanlife videos showing serious problems doing that), and these days many places are closing off that option due to the issues. I have slept in my car and my trailer in parking lots the last few years and it was not a restful night at all. The lights and the noise rate bad enough, but the unease of the possibility of being approached by asshats was (and is) the biggest issue. All part of the adventure!

I am still working on a few trips for next year. Progress has been slower than I hoped, but it’s been difficult to narrow down where I want to go and trying to figure out when since I’m going solo. I definitely plan on making a trip to Washington for a few days at some point. I have narrowed down one other trip to just a few destinations, and I still plan to pull the trailer to the site of Woodstock on my way to Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. There may be a trip to CO as well.

That’s all there is for this posting.

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