Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Simply my Mechanics in AZ

Southwest Transmission 214 W Aero Dr, Payson, AZ 85541 (928) 474-8280

Simply MORE Change!

Incredible. Wonderful machines.
My dear Vantucket is a classic van. She is beautiful. She takes very good care of me. We, Vantucket and I have had many conversations. Yes I talk to my van, probably more before Ozzie came to live with us. Classic vehicles can need a bit more maintenance, mostly because they are getting on in age.

A few weeks ago, Vantucket's rear passenger side brake locked up and I had to have her towed to a shop. The wonderful, and now family like, mechanics at Southwest Tire and Auto did their best to figure out what the sticky gunk they found was. They cleaned it well though didn't feel right charging me only for the clean up.  We couldn't repeat the problem.  So off I went..and kept going until this morning. I was driving around town doing errands and felt the odd glitch in that same brake that I had felt just before the brake locked up the first time. ..sooooo I called Mel and had her tell Brian that I was on my way over to the shop.

I'm thankful for my flexible schedule and ability to have my home with me when stuff like this happens.  So Ozzie and I settled in and waited for them to fit us into their busy day.  When they examined Vantucket - well - she needs axel seals! and but of course I agree that it only makes sense to repair both sides at the same time.  (Ouch $200)  I was honest with Brian from the start that my EMFund (emergency fund) was gone with my recent need for eye glasses/contacts and other auto work. I had to admit, embarrasingly, to the fact that I only had $50 in my Credit Union account although my pay day is only a week away. He didn't want me to be stuck with no money and suggested a payment schedule.  We also discussed work scheduling with him needing to get parts as well as my camping plans for the week. He was uncomfortable with me driving back to Bear Flats so he worked out a way to get the parts and will do the job in the morning. I will, of course, take donuts and my initial payment. Next Wednesday, my pay day, I will take him the rest. I feel so grateful for people like Brian who will help me when I truly need it. Of course, because I am grateful, I am sure to keep my part of the bargain.

Unfortunately Ms Cheri and Toni are at the Bear Flats camping area with a few of our things. There is no cell reception, well it is very sketchy in that area and I have no way to get a message out there tonight. I hope she doesn't worry too much tonight. I would be concerned if I were in her place.  Just in case - I sent her both a text message and an email. Even if she started to come to town she would likely get one of the messages and would be able to relax some.

Keep your vehicles happy and healthy with preventative maintenance as much as possible. And feed those EMFunds often! (I need another Scamp project to flip for money <grin>)

   Ozzie and Vantucket!

Simply Wednesday Weekly Update

We've been camped at Bear Flats this week. Cell signal can be sketchy here so I have been using the Wilson booster just to check in.

The weather has been overcast so my little solar panel has not been very useful. I'm going to see if it will push power into the small trial house battery thing that Kirk ( asked me to test. There will be things that I will suggest that he tweek with the system.  Like making it lighter weight and with lighted on/off switches.

We had a medium sized animal in camp  around 5 am Friday morning.  He messed around the fire pit some. Not sure what it was because I didn't get a good look. It was dark and had a fat butt...maybe a bear cub?!

We have had a lot of visits from rangers because of Memorial Day weekend. Some pretty kewl guys who are trying to educate the public about safety. Tuesday they came around to check on fire pits. .. I had already been trying to put out two fires that other campers left flaming on Monday.  The rangers double checked and found that they were still hot enough to restart so they put them out properly. Interesting interaction and info was shared. One ranger actually is a Vandweller himself after years of living in an SUV he recently built a Sprinter conversion! Pretty kewl!

Tomorrow is 'town day' so I will send this post, do some email catch up and take Ozzie to his class. We will restock our water supply and pick up a few groceries. I will probably find some treat that is as safe as I can find because I have been wanting something sweet for nearly a week. Cookies or ice cream. ..I don't know,  I will probably check at Basha's because they have a health food section in the store.

I've been using my hiking gear so will be posting some gear reviews soon. Watch for them.


PS Ozzie has a new chair!

Simply BDay Wish List

My birthday is coming up. June 29th ..and though it seems odd for me to do this, probably because I didn't keep birthdays growing up in the WWCG community. If someone asks me, and they have before, for once I know what I want this year:

¤ A mini Dutch Oven like this:
Because sometimes it's only me that I am cooking for.

¤ help with the cost of my ticket to Winter Count or building my EM Fund back up would be welcome.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Simply Wednesday Weekly Update

It feels as if it has been a busy week.
What with rain and even some snow in this area. We moved back down to Rye to warm up and get in some practice hiking. Unfortunately Rye is a pretty prickly area, with all the cactus and burrs. Its a hard area for hairy dogs. We have spent a lot of time grooming and removing stickers from feet and fur. Though the scenery here is AMAZING!  Mountains, snow capped and not, sunrises and sunsets, wild flowers and blooming cactus. Its incredibly beautiful in this area.

While out one day we saw this snake - between that and no shade we called the hiking here off while we finished up a couple projects.

Ms.Cheri and Toni came up to hang out with us. Its been great visiting with them. Toni is a ball of energetic fluff who's cute and knows it! It's interesting to watch both Yorkies (Ozzie and Toni) react to each other.

We aren't as ready for doggie class, which is in the morning, as I think that we should be.  We will go anyway and see what happens. I think that our hiking practice was good even if we don't have the automatic sit homework completed yet.

I've done a lot of research about hiking with dogs and healthy food choices while hiking as well as warm and lightweight sleeping bags.

I need to do some gear reviews and posts with links to websites...that's just work I am not ready to do yet.

I rearranged some items from underneath my bed and came up with a nice unused space - not sure how that happens.

I think that we will move up to Bear Flats area for this coming week. I have a jewelry making class scheduled for Thursday. And I would like to relax more this week and maybe sit still.

I'm gonna finish up my hot chocolate - homemade with coconut milk powder, cocoa powder and real maple syrup. I just finished reading my second book this week. "The story of B" and "Touching Spirit Bear" They both were great. 


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Simply Practicing

Hiking a long distance on a trail is exciting. There are so many unknowns that can challenge and surprise you.

Ozzie and I are practicing for the upcoming overnighter! The weather may insist that we adjust our timing. Especially since it snowed last night in the area we were going to. Brrr!

My goal is to be able to put in a 10-15 mile hike day within a month. I don't know how right now because honestly starting over doesn't come complete with the abilities you left off with.  I have to re-learn how to carry a pack, and walk without getting bored. And it's all new learning to take and care for a dog.

I'm such a gear head too! So Ozzie has boots that finally stay on and work! I want a hiking leash which is elasticized, and a fold up water bowl. I ordered him a sleeping bag (oh come on) well my new mummy bag doesn't open at the foot end where he likes to sleep and he gets cold.

For once I am not wanting to spend my time fixing food. I'm creating simple meal plans that will let us get outside quicker. And I have come up with an AIP-Paleo  trail mix that I'm not reacting to.

Today we got in almost two miles, mostly uphill, in sprinkly muddy weather. We're back at the van for lunch today. ..I'm writing this blog post as Ozzie is konked out. He did great with the hike, he healed well (part of his training), as well as hiking with the boots though we did have to back track once for a lost one. <grin>

That's it for now.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Simply an Ozzie update!

Class was great today. If you have ever experienced a child's moment of getting it when learning to read, then you may understand how it felt to see Ozzie get it at class this morning.

I had to make a few minor corrections early on and even Lori, the teacher, was surprised when he just relaxed and did what he was asked to. (She couldn't even get him to act up for a demonstration - teehee) He sat quietly at my side, occasionally laying down.  :)

Yeah I'm a proud Fur Mom!

We got in a good mile and a half walk after class. Then I got this picture while we were waiting for Brian to finish an inspection on the van.


Progress feels good!

Simply - new tires

Na - not for Vantucket!  For me <grin>!
I'm a little less than a week away from another kewl step in my hiking passion life. There is a short overnight circuit hike planned for early next week. Especially if the weather cooperates.

So hiking boots come and go. They wear out. On my 2011attempted AT ThruHike I wore Keen sandals and SmartWool trekker socks. Arizona is very different and I wanted a little more protection.  You know from cactus thorns and rocks. So being the budget shopping goddess that I am. I did some online research and then went shopping.  At Payson's Big 5 store, I found these sturdy, well soled boots on sale. I do love a sale. Crazy or not I paid around $40 for my new treads. I got a few miles on them today with Ozzie's class and a mile and a half walk back to the van which was at the auto shop for one more check.

I'm so excited about next weeks hike!


PS I used to take and post pictures of my feet similar to this picture while I was in a hammock!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Simply tired of being in one area

It's not the area I like it here. what I'm tired of is the constantly needing to move. one of my favorite campsites has a new no camping sign darn. and so each week I'm in town on Wednesday and I find a new campsite and it's getting old really old.

I've been camping in an area of Tonto National Forest called Bear Flats . this is bear country  so I have faithfully been careful with food and trash.

We were pleasantly surprised by a flock of turkeys this morning. and we have a nice view of her pasture full of cattle.

I don't know if my tiredness or anxiousness to go somewhere else is my need for adventure  Or what.

I as well kind of miss the companionship I had the last couple of weeks with the RTR friend in this area.

I do not miss some of the other little curve balls that life threw at me the last few weeks. yes that is my van on a tow truck. yes it seems to be ok now. and Ozzy's class was cancelled last week which is the whole reason I'm here and that feels frustrating.

By the way happy Mother's Day or happy FUR Mother's Day to all you pet owners out there

Friday, May 8, 2015

Simply Friday's Food - hiking style

It's chilly here today!
My new sleeping bag, which compresses smaller than my current sleeping gear and has a lower temperature rating than what is in the van will get a work out as I test it tonight.  Ozzie seems to approve already as he is snoring away while napping on top of it. Anything soft, squishy and warm!

I took the opportunity to make a FBC (Freezer Bag Cooked) meal for lunch. It wasn't anything to really get excited about. I warmed water on the Magic Heat mini stove that I have been testing. I made a cup of Raspberry Zinger tea. Then I put dehydrated vegetables into a freezer zip bag and added some dried cheese powder that I had.  I then added boiling water and gave it a good stir, zipped the top and set it inside my fleece hat.  I waited twenty minutes to a half hour. Then got my long handled Sea to Summit spoon stired, and ate.

It's nice to have a hot meal and warm your head up with a warm hat all in one step! Oh yes and washing dishes - easy peasy! Toss the bag and wipe the spoon.

Here's a picture of what that looks like. .not so wierd!

Stay warm

PS I wanted to include links to some of the gear...though I'm in an area with a poor signal. I will have to do that in the next gear post.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Simply an Old Love Reappeared

Na it's not what you may be thinking! (Wink)

A few posts back I mentioned that I was bumping up against another passion of mine. I do have a passion for healthy food and natural medicines and sharing that of course. I also love being creative, learning primitive living skills and being outside in nature.  Some of you who have been following me know that I hiked for three months on the Appalachian Trail. I attempted a thru hike in 2011 upon my first return to the US. Sickness took me off the trail and it became a back burner bucket list item to finish that hike. I often wondered if it would be possible to long-distance hike again, given my health issues, lack of hiking partner and of course my budget.

While at the RTR this winter some conversations about hiking and living on foot came up. I was pleasantly surprised to find at least one person who was interested in the idea of hiking and living minimally for a time. They were thinking about a trail that I was not familiar with. Yet as we chatted, I found myself incredibly excited. My soul was being jazzed again! I began making silly lists of what I would need to do in order to get out there again. What foods could I carry to stay healthy.  I was questioning whether I could take Ozzie or if I would have to find a sitter for him. I began scouring the internet for blogs of my old hiker buddies...researching the dangers and noticing more than ever how different I am today!  Every little bit of info continued to jazz my soul and kept me smiling. ... and wondering!

My Amazon wish list had a number of hiking items in it for years. After some serious conversations with the RTR friend about the reality of actually trying a hike and wanting a hiking partner....we decided on some starter activities in preparation for some bigger trip in the future - you know, if and if...comfort levels change and someone is not scared sleeping in a tent, bears, coyotes and the like.

Omgosh I re-evaluated my Amazon wish list and took a deep breath as I hit the order and order confirmation buttons! Between the anxious waiting for gear to arrive, I has my nose buried in a borrowed book. "Into a Dessert Place" by Graham Machintosh. Yes! Yes! I kept saying to myself as I read. As well as my BIG question of how am I going to carry enough water to hike in Arizona. ...the AT and East Coast has a good supply of water along most of that six months long hike. Not so in Arizona and definitely not so in Baja where I was reading about Graham's struggles and hike.

To bring you up to date I have been on a strict budget for a while with the goal of becoming debt free again. The plan is to be out of debt in two years - I'm sticking with that!  I had also decided, because I wasn't thrilled with this winters activities,that next fall/winter I want to go to Baja Mexico and intend to participate in Winter Count, which is a primitive living skills event near Phoenix and costs $300.

I had the opportunity to get reacquainted with my skills last week when the RTR friend and I took our dogs, tents and basic gear to a plot of land near St. John's AZ.  We were 30 miles from no where more or less!  And yes it was GREAT!  We walked daily. Tried out some light weight cooking methods. Challenged ourselves and our dogs. We slept in our bivy tents, tied out hikers tarps for shade and enjoyed the companionship of like minded thought.

I was pleasantly surprised that sleeping in the tent felt safe and familiar. Ozzie didn't seem to need adjustment time and accepted the tent as home right away. He even continued his habit of going inside at dusk (which we call coyote time). It was so enjoyable to sit around the small campfire in the evening listening to the round robin howls of coyotes and knowing or remebering how capable I am.
I'm working on some upcoming gear posts. Yes, light weight or ultralight weight and budget friendly.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Simply caution signs ahead!

Have you ever been afraid to dream? To use your imagination and create a new adventure? To imagine another you?

Perhaps the situation is right in front of you. The doorway is practically in sight. Yet you are afraid. You may ask yourself if you are afraid of change and you know that is not so. You question your thoughts. Your growth. Your possible future.

Yet you are paralyzed by the possibilities. It's as if the new white canvas that your inner artist has chosen is too large - it is the size of a three story wall this time. Remember when they were the tiny palm sized canvases or perhaps they were just pieces of paper or napkins in a restaurant.

'What ifs' wait around every thoughtfilled corner. Your sleep disturbed by the frustrations of your lifetime of hopes as well as disappointments.

I've been there. More than one time. I may be there now as I feel the tiredness of using my imagination over the years, the dissapointment of dashed dreams and the tearing up of my emotional self, the only surety seems to be a 'wait with' space.

Realize that you are okay. That this too will pass. That we, you and me, we will act when the time is right. We already know that we will because we have before, many times before. We will choose when the choice is ours. We will be okay. 

That new adventure that seems to be just ahead may be the stuff made of our lifetime of dreams.

Just Simply wait and see!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Simply too much?

I've got too much stuff!
What the heck - if I had to walk away from the van. ...again I have too much stuff to manage in an emergency situation.

I am feeling so happy and wonderfully tired after my five day adventure. Which I took with only my backpack, tent and what I could carry.

Upon returning to the van, I felt overwhelmed. I, immediately, realized my need to just wait. We unpacked the truck and I put our things into the front seat of the van. Then I sat down on a step, not clear about anything except my need to simply BE.

Ozzie, familiar now with the location where we had left the van made his way around re-marking the general territory.

We did spend the night in a great campsite off 260E near Little Green Valley AZ.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Simply LATE Wednesday Weekly Update

Okay folks, I just want you to know that I am okay.
Just after Ozzie's class Wednesday, we took off for some time off grid! We are enjoying being on the top of a ridge watching sunrises and sunsets as the twinkling of the nearest neighboring lights come on  - 30 miles away!
My phone does get signal though the battery is not staying charged. So I am choosing to just check for important messages once a day and then turn the phone off.

Talk to you soon