Longest day of the year

Monday June 20th 2016

Summer officially arrived at 6:34PM today. In anticipation of the solstice, mother nature, raised the temperature to the low 90s. All of which is the long way of saying it was hot and humid in southern New Hampshire today.

Today’s primary task at the house was bring old magazines out of the attic. Why I ever put them up there is beyond me at this point. I’m going through them to remove address labels. This is probably paranoia at work, but I really don’t want to give away information. The volume remaining in the attic is probably down to one third the original. One third is in stacks in the living room and the last third has been recycled.

I also got some cleaning done in the bathroom. It still isn’t great but it is a start. I hung a new cheap shower curtain that is a little brighter than the one it replaced. I’ll take another pass at it on a cooler day.

The return trip to the campground was the worst I’ve experienced traffic wise. The last 4 or 5 miles on the Interstate were stop and go. I got off before the source of the slow down was visible. It doesn’t take much to cause a backup with the volume of traffic on the road.

Things are very quiet at the campground. There don’t seem to be many new travelers here tonight. The existing residents were still away for the day when I got back at 5PM. Some of them are back now.

This is my last night at this campground. Tomorrow I will move back to the KOA in Middleboro. I have a reservation there until after the fourth of July holiday. After that, I’m not sure yet. I may come back here to the Minuteman Campground or go back to Travelers Woods. I’m running out of time before I need to head south.

This blog entry, like the last few, haven’t been very exciting. They reflect my life at the moment. Not very exciting, but getting the job done. The narrative should get better when I get moving later in the summer.

House Work

Sunday June 19th 2016

I am now convinced that summer weather has arrived. Today was another beautiful warm day. With the astronomical start of summer tomorrow, it is about time. The strange weather pattern that has the most of the country in a heat wave can continue as long as we can keep this weather in New England.

I resumed my commute to the house today. I continued cleaning and tossing stuff. Later in the afternoon I took a load of stuff to Goodwill. The donation center in Amherst NH takes many things that other Goodwill stores do not. In particular, this one will take electronic stuff like computers. I have far to much of that kind of stuff. They just take it apart and sell it for scrap, but that’s better than a land fill.

The house has been empty of soft goods like clothes and linens since last fall. It gave me a false sense of accomplishment as I’ve been busy dealing with all kinds of other stuff that I hadn’t considered significant.

Also on this afternoons agenda was a stop at Walmart. I needed to pickup a few things for my RV home and the house. I think fathers day had an impact on shopping. The store was practically empty compared to other weekend days.

Back at the campground the weekend residents have returned to their homes. Not as many travelers arrived to fill in the empty sites. I think the campground is as empty tonight as it has been the entire time I’ve been here. Many of the travelers that have stayed were busy sightseeing today. The campground was really quiet when I got back. The sightseers are just starting to get back now as it approaches 8PM.

Lazy Saturday at the Campground

Saturday June 18th 2016

It was a beautiful day in the low 80s. I took full advantage of the day and relaxed at home under the patio awning.

Breakfast this morning was Apple Cinnamon muffins cooked in the convection oven. I enjoyed them with my coffee outside under the awning. The TV was on to the morning news shows followed by the “educational” animal shows for kids. I wasn’t paying attention to either of them. I was reading internet RV blogs on my table while drinking my coffee and eating my muffins.

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My RV home with the US Open Golf coverage on the TV. The TV was getting several comments from passers by. It isn’t that unusual, but …

Later in the day I actually watched the US Open golf coverage on the TV. I still had the tablet to read, but I paid more attention to the TV than the tablet. The Fox network is trying to bring a new twist to golf coverage. It’s a little better this year than it was last year. I’d still prefer the coverage style of NBC or CBS. Fox seems to always use camera angles from behind the tee box and it uses fancy graphics for every shot.

For dinner tonight I grilled a couple of hamburgers on the grill. They weren’t anything fancy just hamburg, a bun and some caramelized onions. I usually don’t use hamburg in patties. I’m far more likely to use it as a ground meat in a sauce or gravy with pasta, potatoes or rice. So this was a good variation.

The residents of the campground turned over more than I expected. It is as full tonight as last night, but with many different tenants. Similar to many nights there are a couple of rigs from California. I wonder if California residents travel more than other states. The distance from there to here is probably the greatest within the continental US, but I’m seeing many RVs from California in this campground.

Tomorrow I’m back to the commute to work on the house. The traffic will probably be as bad as Friday’s. That will give me something to write about tomorrow.

Weekend at the Campground

Friday June 17th 2016

It was partly cloudy day with high temperatures in the low 80s. The humidity is starting to rise so it is getting a little less comfortable. The weather is still not anything to complain about.

Summertime Friday traffic was enforce on both my morning and evening commutes to the house. Cars with roof racks loaded with enough extra stuff to sink a small boat are surrounded by daily commuters. RVs and towed boats navigate around tractor trailers on their way to weekend retreats. In other words a traffic accident waiting to happen. Throw in a little road construction and you’ve got a parking lot. Luckily it was on the opposite side of the Interstate.

The campground is just about full this evening. Most of the sites are occupied by local area families in tents, tent trailers and RVs. Many are grouped with other families in neighboring sites. It makes for more of a party atmosphere.

During my walk around the campground I saw travelers from Idaho and Georgia that were not here last night. Travelers in general don’t do a lot of outside setup. Some of them just pull in, level up, plug in and turn on the air conditioning. You never see them out side. When I’m traveling, I don’t deploy a lot of outside equipment, but I do walk around the campground and may sit outside for awhile.

In my current mode of two weeks here and two weeks there I setup more of a camp. The chairs, gas grill, a side table and a table cloth for the picnic table are normally deployed. I put the patio awning out when I’m spending the day at the campsite. Tomorrow will be one of those days.

A Clone of Yesterday

Thursday June 16th 2016

Today was a clone of yesterday. The weather was just a little bit warmer but nothing significant. My tasks for the day only differed in my choice of rooms at the house to work on. Today the focus was on the kitchen.

When I got back to the campground this evening, it was filling up quickly. The number of tents and tent trailers is greater than it was earlier in my stay. It is indicator that the kids are out of school and the families are traveling. The arriving families setup camp then they are off to the pool to cool off and work off the energy pent up during the travel day. There were more people in the pool this evening than I’ve seen since I got here.

Checking license plates on my walk shows a trailer from Arizona and three rigs from Louisiana. The others are from more predictable locations. The Arizona trailer is in the site beside me. It has been here for awhile but this is the first time I’ve seen the license plate on the truck. The two guys in the trailer keep strange hours. I think they are working in the area.

The Louisiana rigs are together. There are two fifth wheel trailers and a motorhome. I didn’t see them come in so I don’t know if they are traveling in a caravan or if they travel separately and meet up at the stops. There are trade offs for each method. There is some security in caravaning, but it requires everyone to keep the same pace. From a road sharing perspective it is very hard to pass three or more RVs in a line. If I have an opportunity to travel with others, I’d prefer the lets go are separate ways and meet up at the stops approach.

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Tonight’s campfire.

I had another fire tonight. The wood scraps from the house are now all gone. If I want to have another fire I’ll have to buy wood unless I find more at the house. Neither are likely.

A Study of Campfires

Wednesday June 15th 2016

For a change, today was a summer day. I got a late start on my commute to the house. The darkness of the forest, the quietness of the campground and my RV’s black curtains allowed me to sleep late. It was around 10 when I finally got started.

Back at the campground this evening I had another campfire. To keep my attention on the fire, I experimented taking pictures of the fire. Here are some of the better ones. Call it a virtual campfire for the reader.

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The campground had a lot of turn over today. When I left this morning, it was emptying out. This evening a whole new set of travelers arrived. The states of Ohio and Illinois are the most distant I can have confidence on the origin. There are a couple from Florida, but more often than not those are full timers. I’ll be one of those wit Florida plates soon.

Is Summer Here?

Tuesday June 14th 2016

The weather seem to remember what season it was today. The winds were down and the temperature was up to the mid 70s. Overall it was a nice day. I got a few things accomplished at the house. I can actually see progress now.

The campground has a different feel tonight. There are several one and two man tents in the campground. They’re not traveling together, but share a minimalist approach to camping. A tent, a chair or two and cooking over the open fire seems to be all they need.

The traveling RVs don’t seem to be from as far away tonight. There is a trailer from Louisiana and a motorhome from Alabama here. The California units have departed. I’m sure tomorrow night with have a different set of distant travelers in attendance. Keeping track of where the various rigs come from is a fun diversion.

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Tonight’s fire.

I had another camp fire this evening. The scrape wood from the house is slowly getting burnt. I’ve only brought the leftover lumber from various projects. This is all kiln dried stuff that doesn’t have any insect life attached. All of the states have strict rules about transporting firewood. Infecting new areas with the various invasive species is a serious concern. You are expected to buy wood in the local area. Of course the campgrounds expect you to buy it from them at a premium price.

My attention span in front of the fire is not long. In a group with conversation (even if I’m not a direct participant) or even entertainment I can last quiet awhile. With these solo fires, I only keep it going for about an hour before I return inside to the computer or the TV. Of course I make sure the fire is out.

An usually productive day

Monday June 13th 2016

Mother Nature couldn’t makeup her mind today. It cycled between clear and sunny and dull and cloudy every couple of hours or so. The only constant was a strong breeze from the west. The temperature got up to the low 70s when the sun was out.

I made it up to the house a little late this morning, but made up for it by working a little more steadily than normal. Most days, I have the bad habit of pausing for a cup of coffee in front of the TV. For an excuse, I call it planning time.

As I work through the various rooms in the house, I continue to find stuff that I stashed in a corner or behind something. You’d think that a house with only 3 real closets would be easy to get rid of the junk. The closets were empty last fall, but I’m still finding stuff.

I hope I’m a little more organized with my RV home. It has so many little cabinets or nooks to put stuff in that I’ve already forgotten what is where. There have been a number of occasions over the winter when I had to tear stuff apart looking for something. There are a few things that I’ve been looking for since December that still haven’t turned up. The backup battery for my digital camera is among the missing items. For a while I was convinced it was still at the house, but now I’m sure it is somewhere in the motorhome.

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Chipmunk in the pine needles (a little out of focus).

When I returned to the campground this afternoon the area was quieter than it has been in a while. The travelers seem to arrive later this evening. I was greeted at my site by a couple of chipmunks. There cute little things, but can be royal pains.

The chipmunks and a few birds seem to be the only wildlife around this campgsite. I miss the daily visits from the geese that I was receiving at my last camp. I suspect that the area at the back of the campground might get more interesting wildlife. It is a little more open with grassy areas. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were deer in that area.

An active Sunday

Sunday June 12th 2016

Today started out warm and got progressively cooler and windier. A cold front went through the area with strong gusty winds to end the daylight portion of the day barely 60 degrees. Tomorrow is forecast to be back closer to seasonal normals with more improvements the next couple of days.

Last night was interesting getting to sleep. My current campsite is in the woods. The roof of my RV is fiberglass. It was a dry and still night. What do all these things have in common? The spring growth spurt of the trees results in the remains of the buds and other old growth falling toward the ground. If you are outside you can hear a steady rustling in the woods similar to rain. Inside my RV home only an occasional falling object hits the roof, but when it does it can be heard clearly like the rain. Once you start hearing this random clicking on the roof your wide awake waiting for the next one.

Despite getting to sleep late last night, I was up and headed north to work on the house by 8AM. I stopped at McDonalds for breakfast. It was only slightly faster than the last time I visited this particular McDonalds.  A meal that usually takes 20 minutes to order and eat, took around 30 minutes. Next time I’ll find a different place to get my Big Breakfast and large coffee.

Back at the campground this evening, all of the weekenders are gone. It’s mostly the travelers remaining. Tonight there are three Cruise America rental RVs on the sites in front of me. At least one of these is occupied by a couple from Europe. I don’t know if they are traveling in a group or independently. They did not arrive at the same time.

Another site near me is occupied by a small tent and a pickup truck. They seem to be using the fire place for cooking and warmth. The bottom line is this campground gets all kinds of travelers. I’m near one extreme, although there are a few bigger ones, and the tent camper is at the other end of the spectrum.

Travel Planning

Saturday June 11th 2016

As yesterday came to an end my plans were to work on the house today. When I woke up this morning it was cold and dark. My ambition rapidly drained away. Today turned into a chores about the RV type day. The weather never improved. During the middle of the day a rain front went through the area, but nothing really changed.

I worked on the computer trying to develop plans for the next dozen months. My biggest concern right now is to lock in the month of January in Florida and the month of March in Arizona. I’ve got a good idea and many reservations between now and the end of December. I can fill in any gaps in the weeks ahead.

February is a repositioning month to the west. I will be covering a lot of miles going west. It is about twenty five hundred miles to the Phoenix area. I’ll probably stay a night or two in a location then move on another three hundred miles or so. Planning stops crossing the country will be based on weather and availability. I’ll make reservations as necessary a day or two ahead.

In Arizona I want to stay in the Mesa, Tempe, Apache Junction area east of Phoenix. This area has several of the baseball spring training sites and many RV resorts. The RV parks seem to be either huge or tiny. The huge places have more than a thousand sites with most sites dedicated to permanent park model units. The small ones have less than 50 sites. Reading web pages and reviews just adds to my confusion.

Ideally, I’d like to be in one location for the whole month of March, but that may not be the best solution. At some of the places you need to make your own arrangements with utility companies for stays of a month or more. A couple of places have rules similar to renting an apartment. They want references and security deposits. The weekly rates, although higher, don’t have these additional requirements. So far these quirks seem to be unique to Arizona.

I have a short list for both January and March. I’ll do a little more checking over the next couple of days. I want to try and lock in reservations in the next week. The longer I wait the more difficult it may become.

Today was also laundry day. I got caught up with the dirty cloths, bedding and towels. The laundry is pretty good here. The washing machines are not the cheapest at two dollars a load but the dryers are large capacity and allow you to add quarters to extend the time to whatever you need. Fixed time dryers never seem to cook the cloths long enough.

The campground had some turn over this morning. Some of the units that I took for weekenders turned out to be travelers who moved on this morning. This afternoon they were replaced by more travelers. Trailers from Kansas and California arrived for the evening. I’m waiting for an Alaska RV to set the record for distance traveled. I’ve seen such travelers elsewhere, but not here yet.