Entries to Win Afghan

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Rollin' in the Sunshine - Second 2021 Interior Tour

  What a beautiful ending to Sunny's final day of preparation for this trip. fiberglass trailer in the sunset

The cushions were all finished two days ago, and they look as nice as I had hoped. I bought that little rug at the last minute because the floor was so cold, and it helps a lot. Looks good too. The little heater keeps the interior nice and warm. interior of a fiberglass trailer decorated in blue and yellow

If you are wondering what that funny wooden thing is on the floor, it's the piece that allows me to make the entire bench space into a bed. Here's what the whole space looks like made into a bed. A regular double-bed fitted sheet is perfect to unite the space into a sleeping area. interior of a fiberglass trailer decorated in blue and yellow

Here's a view of the kitchen area again, with everything except the coffee pot, which I'll take out there in the morning. interior of a fiberglass trailer decorated in blue and yellow

Monica says she's ready to play hooky and run off with me. (Sorry I caught her blinking.) person in a fiberglass trailer

Just a look at the table area from a different angle. interior of a fiberglass trailer decorated in blue and yellow

The storage area of the kitchen. interior of a fiberglass trailer decorated in blue and yellow

And finally, what we hope may be the solution to too many loose shoes on the floor. It's all fastened with Command Strips, so if it doesn't work, it can come down without damage. interior of a fiberglass trailer decorated in blue and yellow

Stacy came and helped me all afternoon, and then Monica came after work and helped for several more hours. I just have to go out and stow things in the trailer for travel, but that doesn't take long. With their help, all the extra details got taken care of, and things are put in their places. I spent ALL morning making a few phone calls and doing the last round of errands. This took until 1 pm! But I did get them all done.

And the list? I got the last 3 BIG ITEMS done. OK, so I dropped 5, but nevertheless, I have done 57 major projects (defined as needing more than one day to complete) in the past 75 days. Most of the little ones are done. I sort of quit counting. A few can go on the road with me. Not ideal, but workable. A few are just out of luck.

Teeny is packed, and as you may have seen on Facebook, weighs 28 pounds fully loaded with 5 days of food, and 1 day of water. I'm really happy about that. All my clothes for tomorrow are stacked up. The house is semi-restored... OK, there's just less chaos, but there is only 1 extra table set up in the living room instead of 4. That has to count for something, right? The dining room is hopeless, but it's been that way for 5 years... what's one more?

I need to decompress for a bit, stow the gear in Sunny for travel, and then take a shower before bed. I'll be on my way in the morning! Sunny is being delivered to his first stop on the next day. I haven't yet gotten my head around the magnitude of this. And remember... if I don't blog tomorrow, it only means I don't have any cell service. There are no cliffs for me to fall off of just yet!

See First 2021 Interior Tour

Monday, November 29, 2021

The Mouse and the Dead End

  Several months ago, as I was going into the Post Office, this little one was climbing steadily up the corner by the door. I knew right then, this was how I already felt, and I wasn't even into the final scramble to get ready for this hike. He's got three little feet solidly planted on brick or concrete where he can get a purchase, and the other one is sort of hoping that shiny metal, with nothing to hold on to, isn't going to do him in.

Does he look a little desparate to you? Definitely determined. mouse climbing a brick wall

But where is he headed? Yeah... toward what one usually finds at the top of an inside corner... a ceiling. And what will he do when he gets there? If he gets there. I didn't stick around to find out. mouse climbing a wall

Right now, even though I've hiked this trail once already and although there are pieces that have changed, there aren't going to be major surprises, I sort of feel like I'm heading with determination toward something that might be a dead end.

Did you know that for months I was telling the few people who knew about this plan that I was going to keep what I was doing a secret until I got at least the first month of the hike done? I don't really like all this publicity when I haven't even done anything yet. What if I'm headed for a dead-end corner, or a bad fall (did the mouse climb down, or did he tumble to injury or death?). A literal bad fall could do in the whole plan. (Nimblewill Nomad, who just completed the AT at age 83 admitted that he fell down a lot, but luckily never hurt himself badly)

So the little mouse has been on my mind since early summer. I know that the trail itself is not a dead end. It's in lots better shape than the last time I walked it. But there are lots of kinds of dead ends one could be traveling toward without knowing it.

On the other hand, I'd rather be traveling than thinking about dead ends.

In other news: I've officially dropped 5 BIG ITEMS. There are 3 left. They should all be finished tomorrow. Two are close, but are each missing one piece that will be completed with the errand run. The third item is just a matter of how much more I can get done. So, I'll get to cross it off no matter what. I did 13 small ones today so far. Sue came and helped today. Stacy is coming tomorrow. Monica will stop after work to see if I'm in good shape. ONE more day!

I'm going to say this a couple of times. I have the equipment to blog from the trail when I'm backpacking. However, none of that will work if I don't have a cell signal. There are places in the Manistee National Forest- where I am starting this hike- where there is NO service. If I manage to plop down in one of those, you won't hear from me. DO NOT GET WORRIED. If I can't blog at night, maybe I can at least put something on Facebook the next day. There are people hiking with me each of the first 5 days when I'm backpacking, and after that it's all day hikes through the winter.

See Pre-Hike Supporters

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Shout Out to the Pre-Hike Supporters

  There are three people who have been on my local pre-hike support team for many months. They've helped me more than they probably realize just by being, well... supportive.

You know that Sue came and helped with food two days. She's also going to be on the road with me for more time than probably anyone else. So, you'll hear lots more about her.

However, these three people are not going along on the trip, but each of them committed to keeping me motivated with the hiking earlier (actual preparation sort of overwhelmed that), and helping in various ways. Not in any particular order:

Loren hired me to do all that painting for her in the spring. She was in on the "secret" plan, even then, and she paid me full price to do that job. This financed a lot of the preparations. Her husband, Dave, is also in the picture. friends

Cathy also learned of my plan in the spring. She can't really take off to go along with me, but you know we've done a lot of hiking together this year. She's helped with a lot of work on the trailer, and added an extra brain to sorting out planning issues when two heads were definitely better than one. She's going to hike with me on day one, and she and her husband will deliver Sunny to the first spot where I am staying in the trailer. friends

Monica came into the loop later than those two, because I didn't meet her until this summer. But we quickly hit it off big time. We've hiked together, and she's helped with food and sewing and the trailer. She's also helped me figure out solutions to remaining issues. She'll hike with me on day 2 and 3. See, I've got insurance that I won't be quitting right out of the starting block. And, she JUST NOW brought me something that will provide a solution for yet another storage issue. We may be a similar kind of crazy... kinda scary! friends

I also want to say a big-time thanks to Omer. He really doesn't like the house to be a mess, and the poor guy married the Queen Mess-Maker. I'm not kidding when I say that I've outdone myself in trashing the place this time. With two days to go, I'm entering clean-up and put-away modes, but with ONLY two days to go, it's not going to be great when I leave. Also, he has run to the store when I needed some stray item, and he is going to be my support person for one month. That's definitely out of his comfort zone, so I really appreciate it. Here we were on Veteran's Day. It's a nice picture, so I'll use it. friends

Of course, I have to mention Marie, because we talked on the phone often, working out trailer details, since she has more trailer time than anyone except me. And she's my 100%, wind-beneath-my-wings, support person.

And there are a number of people who have prayed with me as I am getting ready to leave, and some who have committed to pray for me every single day. This means an awful lot to me, and I know it will help keep me going on the days that are less fun- there are bound to be some.

In other news: I finished everything I can do for now on the 2021 tax accounts. BIG ITEM. I finished the trailer cushions. BIG ITEM. I made one more pair of hiking pants for me. BIG ITEM. All the plants are gone. The trailer table is re-installed, and I'm getting things put away in their spaces and packing.

8 BIG ITEMS to complete, with almost certainly 5 of them to be dropped (54 done). 2 small items done that were on the list; tons more small ones to do, but some can be done after we are on the road- I just don't want to forget about them (71 done). 2 days to go. It's getting real.

See Letting the Secret Out of the Bag

Saturday, November 27, 2021

My Trailer Redo - Days189-191 - Closet

  This was the most difficult feature of this entire project to build in. But I had decided I wanted a little vertical closet beside the door. Frankly, I have wondered a couple of times what I was thinking! What a challenge. The doors aren't perfect, but they both work, so I'm going with it.
closet in a fiberglass trailer

The upper section has two little shelves.
closet in a fiberglass trailer
The lower section holds the laundry bag on a hook, and has a short broom (I learned this is called a lobby broom), and other cleaning supplies.
closet in a fiberglass trailer
The bottom front is high so the lower portion makes a "retaining wall" in case we want to throw shoes in there or something. For some reason, I had a really hard time getting the magnet in the right place for the catch, but I JUST NOW got it in the right place, and the glue had dried long enough to test it. It holds!
closet in a fiberglass trailer

Now look at the pictures again. I wanted both doors to swing open toward the trailer door so that if you were standing in the kitchen, you could just reach over and access the closet. Nope. Not enough room on my frame to mount the hinges, and not enough clearance to open the slanted door against the slanted ceiling. So one door goes one way and one goes the other. I had to remake the upper door once. They are not mounted in a straight line, and the grooves in the beadboard do not match. So be it. The only fix is to make a new front wall and decrease the size of the opening to get to the shelves. Not happening now. Maybe not ever. This is the last construction project for the trailer for this year.

In other news: I get to cross off two BIG ONES today. This and a personal thing that had to be done. I worked on accounts this morning, I sewed. I went to see the people I needed to in order to complete the other big project. They prayed for me and the hike. Very nice time. Also did 4 small things. 11 BIG ITEMS to complete or drop (51 done). 4 small items done that were on the list; tons more small ones to do (69 done). 3 days to go.

And now, back to the sewing machine. I think this is the last you'll see of the trailer until the final interior tour- probably Tuesday. Have you had fun? I have. I'm pretty happy with the looks... soon we'll see how it does on the road.

See Days 187, 188- Details

Friday, November 26, 2021

Test from the Tent

  I set the tent up while it was still light out. That's not cheating I'll usually do that.
It's 25 degrees outside right now. Projected low of 21. I'm inside the tent with my Luci lite on. Works great but I need a little caribiner to make it easier to hang. Here are the things I changed about the sleeping. I sewed the bottom of the bag to elininate the stupid air hole at the bottom. I have wrapped my nylon tarp around the bottom of the bag. I have the cotton/silk liner inside the +15 degree liner. I also have an extra blanket in here if I have to cheat, But I don't want to carry a lot of extra stuff. I took pics a minute ago of the layers. I have to do pictures from my phone for these posts,, They have not appeared in Google photos yet, so that's something to remember. Don't take pictures at the last minute that you want to use. We'll see how tangled I get in the layers. Shucks,.. I'll have to post the pix that prove I'm out here tomorrow. Pics just showed up! Test 2 omplete

My Trailer Redo - Days 187, 188 - Details

  I spent about one day doing everything except the trim around the door, so I'll call this two days of work. These are all finishing details, and it accounts for a large part of the list of small projects I crossed off a couple of days ago.

I hadn't actually shown you this kitchen shelf unit before, but it was completed about the same time as the overhead bin. And I added two hanging baskets on the front side of that. They may be attached well enough to stay in place during travel. I had to send back the first ones I ordered. They felt too big even though they fit in the space.
shelf unit in a fiberglass trailer

I did add trim around the front window. Found this clear vinyl outside corner trim in the cabinetry section at Lowe's. It's stick-on. I roughed up the surface and painted it white. The self-stick worked on 3 sides, and I glued the fourth one. It nicely covers the rather ragged edges of the window opening. windown trim in a fiberglass trailer

It's still pool noodles held on with butyl sealer around the door. The door is just too whacko for any normal gasket to work. The more I look at the whole thing, I'm thinking the door opening is as much at fault as the door. But those aren't things I'm dealing with before this trip. This works fine, and I was able to stop the drafts almost completely. You can see blue peeking around the door in later pictures too. pool noodle door insulation in a fiberglass trailer

The vent is finished off with a new trim ring, and there is a piece of insulation up there behind the screen for the cold months. This time I installed the whole thing, I figured out how to get the two screws that hold the screen frame in without spending an hour. vent trim in a fiberglass trailer

I put the other three window frames and the curtains back up. Ultimately these will both be different, but these are still fine for this trip. That cheap Wal-mart fabric is at least the right colors, and although it is beginning to fade, it has done the job nicely since June 2016. A trailer like this needs curtains even if nothing else is done unless you like living in a goldfish bowl! curtains in a fiberglass trailer curtains in a fiberglass trailer

Here is the trim around the door. You can also see that I put the little mirror back up. That was purchased at back-to-school time, and was designed for a locker door. It has worked very well. Anyway, around the door, I custom cut the rest of the sheet of FRP board. I mounted it with the smooth side out. It's really designed for the pebbled side to be the "right" side, but command hooks or whatever can be attached to the smooth side. The outer edges (against the wood wall) just have the FRP trim, but I need to get something for the curved edge around the door. Looking for a white product that will grip something this thin. I'm sure there is something, but it's not critical, and I'm out of time for right now. I'm fairly pleased with how this came out.
door trim in a fiberglass trailer

And one more little item- I mounted that battery-powered light bar that I bought four years ago under the kitchen overhead bin. If one person is cooking after dark (very likely in the winter), they will be working in their own shadow from the main light. This supplements enough to help although it was still light outside when I took the picture, so it's hard to tell. The lights swivel and angle independently, so you can put light where you need it. light bar in a fiberglass trailer

I still have to get a few command hooks in a size I don't have, but most of this sort of thing is done.

In other news: I worked on a major personal project this morning. Can't quite cross it off-probably tomorrow. I sewed on the cushions. That involved tightening the belt on the sewing machine before I could do any more. Didn't really want to have to service that today, but the sewing machine is a completely selfish creature. It only cares about its needs not mine... Since I had it opened up, it also got cleaned and oiled. A friend stopped to see Sunny today, so I started moving things back inside to make it look nicer for her. Have to do a lot of organization yet, but things are beginning to exit the piles in the house. I'm going to call one more BIG ITEM done, and that is to have places arranged all along the trail where I can put the trailer for a few days. I still have a couple of small gaps in places I'm not worried about, but a couple of people are now working on western North Dakota for me, and I'm confident that I have a workable matrix of places.

I'm sleeping outside again tonight. This time I put up the tent, and I have more layers. I'll go out when I finish working this evening. I'll also try to blog from out there in the dark and the cold... much more realistic than how I managed a remote post last night. Meanwhile, I'm headed back to the sewing machine for the evening.

13 BIG ITEMS to complete or drop (49 done). 6 small items done that were on the list; tons more small ones to do (65 done). 4 days to go.

See Days 185, 186 - Insulation

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Test Post

  this is a test using the bluetooth keyboard. The pic is through my dirty window the other morning. But I like it.
The real test will be doing it outside with cold hands.
See True Blue Gumby II

Breaking the Rules

  We had a non-traditional Thanksgiving today, and that was just fine. The trailer table is still on sawhorses in the kitchen and it made a lovely table. We had dinners delivered by Radiant Church. We got an apple pie from the Reformed Church and a pumpkin pie from Meijer. Omer bought a large tub of "super-food salad" from Meijer for me. It was perfect. Joshua joined us for the meal. family eating dinner

After that we had a Skype call with Steve. Can you believe I didn't hit print screen? Bummer. But we had a nice chat with him. He hasn't been here for 2 years. And he doesn't like to talk, so this was a real treat.

We also ended up having a discussion of how often we "break the rules" for Thanksgiving. Thanks to the blog, I was able to look back on a lot of years. Just for the record, last year I did cook. We have done take-out a couple of times. It looks like the last year I cleaned the dining room and fixed a classic turkey was 2013. That's OK too. I did fix a turkey for Christmas dinner at the newspaper one of the years I worked there.

I do get to cross off a big item. The last time Steve was here, he requested that I make him some cloth shopping bags. Procrastinator that I am, they are just getting done. I wanted to ask him one question before finishing them, and I did that during our call. Now there are 2 of these, ready to send. I suppose I shouldn't cross it off until they are in the mail, but I can add "mail the bags" to the list of small items. cloth shopping bag

And I get to have pie for breakfast again tomorrow. We "broke the rules" this morning and cut the pies before the main meal so we could have pie for breakfast today too! After all... who made the rule that you can't eat the pie early? (Probably I did, back when it would have been completely gone before the real meal.)

In other news: I worked on that final difficult project in the trailer a little bit, but mostly I sewed. Steve's bags were a BIG ITEM, and I did one other small one. 14 BIG ITEMS to complete or drop (48 done). Tons of small ones to do (59 done). 5 days to go.

Now, it's back to the sewing machine for me.

See Thanksgiving Threesome

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Tea with Two Friends

  There may be two posts today. I'm working like crazy on the trailer, and may do another post later, but I hit a snafu (of course) on the last major project.

Anyway, when I finally got to meet blogger buddy Ann this summer, she gave me a mug she decorated with her Cricut. It's got the Pennsylvania state Motto, "Pursue your happiness," on it. The other side has her hometown, and the date of my visit.

My secret pal for bell choir (the person I gave gifts to) was Polly. One of the things she said she liked was Matcha Green Tea. I'd never heard of it, and so I had to keep one packet out of what I gave her to try.

And here you are: Matcha Green Tea in a happy green mug, with Ann and Polly (in my imagination).
mug of tea

Polly also gave me a pair of acryilic tights to try on the hike. She asked me if I was allergic to acrylic- because I am allergic to polyester. The answer is, "I really don't know." I think the only clothing I've ever had in acrylic is socks, and they were all right. OK, these are socks- really long socks. More skin is involved. More skin with fewer calluses.

In other news: I shopped; I did laundry; I slept outside last night. That did not go well. It was not a very cold night, and even with my adaptations to the bag, and the new liner, I was very cold. Working on the solution to that too.

I did a whole bunch of final details on the trailer. You'll get to see them, but not in this post. So far, all I've actually finished today is 12 small things. Just in case I don't post again tonight, I'll give you the stats, but I'm not done working. 15 BIG ITEMS to complete or drop (47 done). Tons of small ones to do (58 done). 6 days to go.

See Blog Buddy Blast

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Simple Insomnia or Providence?

  One night last week I couldn't sleep. One of the things going through my mind was the problem of the belt pack. I haven't had one that worked right for over a year. This is how I had modified a fishing pack for use with Shamu (my previous backpack). backpacker belt pack

And here's a picture of how I had added clips to Shamu so the belt pack didn't awkwardly slide down over my belly or otherwise drive me insane. You can see my little time/temp dangler, and pace counter beads in those pics too. backpacker belt pack

Here's the belt pack backstory. Years and years ago, I found a fishing belt pack, made by Eagle Claw, that had pockets that were exactly what I wanted. I adapted it as shown above and wore it for about 10 years. With two sets of the same clips, I could either wear it with the backpack, or by itself without changing anything. This eliminated the annoying need to transfer my stuff (and possibly lose things) if I was slackpacking.

Finally, the fabric began to wear through. Got lucky, and found another one. By then, the company had made some changes, and did not include some of the pockets, so I made the desired pockets and sewed them on. They are the blue ones in the pictures of the old pack.

But over a year ago, the main zipper in the second one broke. I could replace the zipper easily enough, but the fabric had again worn through in several places, and it really wasn't repairable. I've been making do with other packs I already owned, but didn't like any of them. This spring, I found a small one that was OK, but it was really too small, and the zippers didn't stay shut when I walked. backpacker tactical pack

I've been hunting and hunting for anything that was similar with no success. Eagle Claw makes nothing even similar any more. These are now all called "tactical packs." I like that name, so I'm using it. My plan for this trip was to make a replacement tactical pack using the old one as a pattern. Totally do-able, but it was going to take some time.

So, while I was not sleeping, I thought maybe I'd just look at packs one more time. I scrolled through pages and pages of packs for fishing, hunting, hiking, general use. Didn't like any of them. On a sudden whim, I decided to look on eBay, and there it was! A "vintage," unopened Eagle Claw pack of my style. You better believe I ordered it without a second thought. So was I simply filling in a sleepless night, or do you think I was meant to find that pack? I know what I think.

Old and new. The great news is that this is the original design with all the pockets. I don't have to add any. The slightly not-so-good news is that this pack is bigger. Weird. But it works anyway; it just wraps farther around little old me. backpacker tactical pack

Here's how I use the pockets: Big one holds a water bottle, situpon, knife, plastic bag to cover the camera when needed, cough drops, and whatever else I need to deal with in a hurry. backpacker tactical pack

This is the feature I've always loved about this pack. It comes with a tiny tackle box tucked in this flap pocket, but I use it for maps. The daily map packet goes in here, in plastic, with a pen. backpacker tactical pack

On the other side, the small pockets hold compass, chapstick, and bug repellant. backpacker tactical pack

The larger zip pocket on that side holds my songbook, a small notebook, ID and money. backpacker tactical pack

The small front pocket is for my snack. (Spare safety pins on the flap.) backpacker tactical pack

Teeny is constructed differently from Shamu, and this is when I discovered this tactical pack is bigger, so I had to move the clips back farther. Also had to sew them on by hand. Hmmm. But, I got it done. backpacker tactical pack

And, how does it work? Just like it's supposed to. Knowing my gear is where I want it to be, in the familiar places is calming. So, however I managed to solve the tactical pack problem, that was a BIG ITEM. Done. backpacker tactical pack

In other news: This was my morning project. Then I worked on the trailer. Got the two remaining construction jobs to the point where I know they will be done tomorrow. Just waiting for paint to dry, and I need one more trim piece. Then the only remaining trailer items (except cushions) are what I'm calling "details." After I post this, I'll go back to working on cushions.

15 BIG ITEMS to complete or drop (5 definitely in danger of dropping out)- (47 done). Tons of small ones to do (46 done). 7 days to go. Yes, panic is setting in, but tomorrow I should be able to clear out the tools and start putting things in the trailer. That will help.

See Earth Day and Birthday Shenanigans