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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Living Space

It's funny. Back home my lovely wife and I share a fairly good sized house. It was the right size when we were raising three daughters. Now, it seems a bit excessive. It's kinda a relief that my niece will be moving in with us when we get back. The house won't seem so empty. There are times when I think I just have all those rooms so I can keep my books in them.

For a few months now my lovely wife and I have been living in a converted ambulance. It's basically just a bed on wheels. I'm got a bit more space by using my old cooler as a seat. There is enough room for our basic needs. Living on our last sailboat was similar to living in the van. We've been blessed with a lot of good weather, so a lot of our living is done outside.

When my lovely wife and I first got together, we did a lot of backpacking. Everything since has seemed like an upgrade. Even canoe camping seemed posh, as we brought bigger tents and extras like folding chairs. Car camping was another upgrade. You could drive right up to your campsite. Luxury. In fact, even though we've got this perfectly comfortable camper van, we still occasionally tent camp.

I understand the tiny house movement. There's something to be said for having just enough space to meet your needs and no more. As some point we don't own things; things own us. If we were building a place to live in now we'd probably live in a 20 foot diameter yurt. That's big enough to do everything that needs to be done.

Of course, you've really got to love the person you are with to be able to live so close.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Storms and Tornadoes

We had a mostly quiet day at the campground. There were high winds, thunderstorm and tornado warnings. All we got was light rain and a little more wind. The worse of the storms passed on either side of us. We were on constant watch, but had we been ignorant of the danger the result would have been the same.

Once the danger was past my lovely wife and I drove into town for dinner. Afterwards we drove around the waterfront, checking out marinas and boats.

We have some days booked back in the Ocala. I love camping at those natural springs. The weather is supposed to be cooler but sunny. Of course, cooler is relative. Temperatures in the 60s beats the heck out of snowstorms back home.

The fourth Northeaster of the month has moved in. Travel up I-95 looks horrible. Good thing we don't have to be back there right now. Easter is on April Fools Day this year. That's not good. I guess we'd have to be fools to go home for Easter.

After our stint in the Ocala, we aren't sure where we'll be. Maybe we'll extend our stay out in the woods. That helps the budget as Federal campgrounds are less expensive. There's also the fact that there's not much to spend money on out there.

The new DC cooler/refrigerator seems to be working fine. Right now we are running mostly on grid power. It's handled a couple days off-grid. The real test of its efficiency will be when we are in the Federal campgrounds without grip power for a longer period of time.

All in all, things continue to go well. I'm glad my lovely wife has fully recovered from whatever it was that ailed her.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Back on Track

My lovely wife is pretty much back to her old self. That seems to indicate to me it was probably something she ate. Glad to see it wasn't the flu. The flu season has been nasty this winter.

There's always something to do. In this case it was laundry. We've also been reorganizing the van. Now and then we sit down and figure out what's working for us and what isn't. For example, I've moved the new refrigerator/cooler to a more easily accessible location. While it fit fine where I first had it, getting into it was more awkward than I'd hoped.

This part of Florida is now getting some much needed rain. Fortunately, the rain came after we were done with our beach time. We have access to grid power at this campground. The big difference with having grid power is that I use the microwave more. It's perfect for heating leftovers. Occasionally we indulge in a bag of microwave popcorn. While on grid power I make sure my deep discharge batteries are fully topped off. Nothing shortens the life of lead acid batteries like keeping them with a low charge for a long period of time.

We keep meeting a lot of people from New England. People who normally would not have come down decided they had enough of the endless snowstorms. Can't say I blame them. My house is so buried in snow right now that it'll take a good long warm spell before I can get back to it.

In the mean time, there's always beach days.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Sixbears at the Beach

We are back to the East Coast. Here I am wadding in the surf at Anastasia Island.

My lovely wife is doing a lot better. Still not 100%, but she's on the mend.

While walking to to beach I got a call on the cell phone. One of my lovely wife's friends from back home was calling. She said it was -6, which is not exactly beach weather. She told my lovely wife that the snowplow got stuck and he had to get a bucket loader to free him from the snow. That doesn't sound like a good time.

The campgrounds are still full of northern folk fleeing the cold and snow. Personally, I think I need some more Florida time.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

One Extreme to the Other

You never know what you'll get booking campsites on-line. We knew the place was remote, but we didn't know how remote. The park gate houses were unmanned. The road in looked so sketchy that we turned around.

My lovely wife spent 45 minutes trying to get hold of a human being who could tell us the road conditions. We were not even sure we were on the right road. It didn't help that the website said not to follow the GPS in certain areas of the park. Eventually, I decided to see if we could make it.

The road was rough in places, narrow, overgrown, and spots with deep soft sand. We made it to the campsite. It was out there. It had a large composting toilet and no showers. We've camped in worse areas. This site had a picnic table, raised tent area, graveled parking, and a fire ring. There was plenty of dry firewood lying around.

We were booked in for two nights. Unfortunately, my lovely wife woke up feeling ill. She suspects she might have gotten something bad at the restaurant we ate at the day before. Being sick out in the deep forest is not a fun thing. I made the command decision to book us into a hotel. The road out was worse than the road in. Good think I grew up driving on dirt roads. The van has good ground clearance and I needed every inch.

A little over an hour later we were booked into a decent hotel. My lovely wife took some meds and I tucked her into bed. Hopefully, she'll be feeling better in the morning.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Somewhere Near Tallahassee

We are spending Thursday night somewhere near Tallahassee Florida. Another night of parking lot camping. Wednesday night we stayed at the rest area off Rt. 10 in Mississippi near Louisiana. The security guard directed us to a nice area “reserved” for RV parking. That was great, but sometime in the night tractor trailer rigs moved in all around us. We woke to the sound of their diesels running all night.

I don't really blame them. They have to spend the night somewhere. Long distance trucking keeps the country running, but drivers are under appreciated. It's a hard and lonely life on the road.

Thursday I stopped into a sporting goods store and got a 100 count container of soft disposable ear plugs. Those diesels aren't going to keep me awake another night.

Friday and Saturday night we are booked into a State Forest near Jacksonville Florida. We've never been there before. There aren't a lot of reviews on the campground, but cell phone service is supposed to be bad. If I don't post for a couple days it's probably due to lack of service. Sunday night we'll be in a different place, one that wifi service near the office.

Recently I turned 60 while on the road. It's just a number . . . a pretty big number. While I feel pretty good, it's a reminder that the clock is running. There are so many adventures to have yet, so I'd better not put them off much longer.

Life is good.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Breaking Points

The Northeast is getting hit with blizzard conditions. That will probably take down power for a lot of people. At the same time there's a solar storm going on that could affect power and communications in the higher latitudes.

That got me thinking. It's often a combination of things that take down a civilization. Robust societies can handle more disruptions than fragile ones. It also matters how many problems and how often they arrive that stresses a population.

Scientists try to figure out what caused ancient civilizations to collapse. For example: an area may be prone to drought, but the civilization survives any number of them with no problems. Then one day a drought comes along and everything falls apart. What's the difference? It could be a number of things.

There may be some political unrest going on at the same time. Infrastructure that normally would lessen the impact of the drought (cisterns, canals, reservoirs, etc.) are not properly maintained. Maybe a recent disease outbreak caused problems. While normally any one of those problems could be dealt with, the added effects of them working together proves to be too much.

Now I don't expect any such disaster from a simple winter storm and a somewhat more energetic sun. Any solar caused outages would mostly like be dwarfed by snow storm effects. Of course, that's just two things, and not all that uncommon at that. Add in something like Yellowstone having a massive eruption, an EMP device denotation, plague, and that might do it. It might take less than that, or it might take more. Who knows? This is not an exact science.

So what's a civilization to do? There are plenty of things that cannot be done. We don't exactly have any control over the sun. However, by staying on top of what we can fix, we are in a better state to survive the stuff we have no control over.