Sunday, March 15, 2015

More Home Improvements

Bill blames it on watching too much of the HGTV and DIY channels on TV.  He may be right…watching those home improvement shows can be inspiring.

I posted earlier about the desk area we built across the back of our fifth wheel.  Well, we didn't stop there.  We bought a new memory foam mattress for the bed and new recliners for the living room.  And just a few days ago, we had the carpet cleaned.

After we had the desk area in and knew we wanted to get rid of the sofa, Bill placed a Craigslist ad.  In the past, we've had very good luck with Craigslist, and this time was no different.  We gave away sold the sofa, coffee table, two end tables and the love seat.  We didn't get much money, but our main goal was to get rid of the furniture, and we did.

However, we still had almost a week before we could pick up our new La-Z-Boy love seat in Tucson.  Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to get of the old love seat, we simply brought our LaFuma recliners inside.  At least they kept us off the floor.

 And here is our new La-z-Boy love seat.  Each side reclines independently, and the size is perfect!
We have really changed the look of our fifth wheel.  And, in case you were wondering, those are banana-walnut muffins cooling on the wire rack on the island.  The muffins are grain-free and sugar-free and made with almond flour and coconut flour…but that's another story for another day.
Tomorrow we are pulling the rig to LaMesa RV in Tucson for its annual check-up.  We are getting the wheel bearings repacked and the brakes checked/adjusted.  I have read many bad comments on-line about LaMesa.  All I can say is they have treated us well.  We bought our Cameo from them, and they have been the only facility to service it.

While the Cameo is being serviced, we are taking the truck to a nearby Ford dealer for an oil change.

Wow, it sounds as if we are getting ready to hit the road.  Our planned departure date is April 1…unless we get a little antsy.  Only time will tell.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Simplify

In an effort to simplify our web presence, Bill and I have decided to take down our webpage (www.billandcap.com).  We haven't updated it in years,  and there are other webpages out there providing a lot of great (and more current) fulltiming information.

If you access our blog via the webpage, please bookmark this page instead.

I will continue to post to this blog and am always willing to answer questions about our fulltiming experience.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Live and Work in Yellowstone this Summer!


We still need a few good folks to work in Yellowstone campgrounds this summer!


Helpful hint:  If you apply as a couple, each person must complete an application 
and use a unique email address.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Completed Project

Bill and I now have a desk area in our Cameo fifth wheel.  After removing the sofa from the rig (you can read about that here), we had to decide the best way to make a desk area.  Bill came up the great idea of using a piece of counter top laminate as the desk top and using two file cabinets as the base.

So, off to Tucson we went to visit Home Depot and Lowes.  Neither store had exactly what we were looking for.  They each had laminate counter tops, but they were too long for our area, and neither store had the ability to cut the laminate.  We found this a little strange.  When Bill asked the Home Depot guy how we could get it cut, the salesman said, "Well, you can cut it."  Let me ask you this, if Home Depot doesn't have the machine to cut the laminate, did he really think we had the ability to cut it?  Actually, Bill said he could probably do it, but we decided to keep looking.

When we ran into the same situation at Lowes, the Lowes guy suggested we visit Arizona Laminate Fabricators.  I'm glad we did!  We were able to order exactly what we wanted, and we learned some important things about laminate.  For instance, laminate over 36" in length will warp if left unsupported in the middle.  Since our laminate will be 84", we now knew we had to have some sort of support.

Our laminate desk top was ready for pick up in just a few days.  Before picking it up, we stopped by Home Depot and bought two pieces of angle iron to use to support the laminate.  Here is Bill attaching the angle iron to the file cabinet base.

And here is the desk.  Bill screwed the laminate top to the angle iron, making the desk "one piece" and very stable.

Here are a couple of before and after pictures.

Before:


After:
We are very pleased with the outcome.  We now have a dedicated desk area and were able to remove our laptops from our dining table.  We also removed the leaf from the table so our table now seats just two.  We are using the two extra chairs at the desk. We did not realize, when we ordered the laminate, how well the color blends with the upholstery on the chairs and the window valances.

We are thoroughly enjoying our new view while working on our computers.  The other morning, we watched a pack of  5 coyotes romping in the meadow behind us.  Before running off, they stopped and sang for a few seconds.  The next morning's entertainment, was a bevy of quail running around.  We had no idea what we had been missing!

So, do not be afraid to make your RV your own.  If want to change something…change it!  By the way, does anyone need a lightly used sleeper sofa, coffee table, and two end tables?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cochise Stronghold

A few years ago, Bill and I drove over to Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains and hiked the Cochise Trail.  You can read about that hike here.  When we saw the little campground, we knew we had to come back and stay a few nights, and we finally did.

It was just an hour's drive from Benson, and it took us about an hour to get our site set up.  We arrived around 1:30 on Sunday and did not expect the campground to be full.  Fortunately, there were two sites available, so we snagged site #7.  It wasn't long before someone came and snagged the last site, so the campground was completely full…all 11 sites.  Our site worked our very well.


Here's a picture of the heart of the kitchen.  The chuck box contains most everything I need to prepare a meal.  The actual food and other accessories are in the tubs to the right.  Our fresh water and catch basin are on the left.  This set up works really well for us.

The campground is surrounded by mountains, so it takes a while for the morning sun to finally reach the ground.  It was a bit chilly at night, so we were happy when the sunshine finally reached us.  Here are a couple of pictures of the sunshine coming down the mountains.



Each morning we were awakened by a cacophony of birds.  Here's one of many that told us "good morning" each day.

 After a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs (and why is it that bacon and eggs just taste better when cooked outside?), we headed out for a hike.  The trailhead is in the campground, so that made it very convenient.  Since we have hiked the Cochise Trail, we opted to hike the Middlemarch Canyon Trail, which starts at the Cochise Trail and then veers off about 1 mile up the trail.
The Middlemarch Canyon Trail is about a 2 mile trail that leads to, you guessed it, Middlemarch Canyon.  And once the trail breaks out of these trees, it goes pretty much straight up.
 Of course, the higher we got, the better the views got.
And we finally reached the top! 

From here, the trail heads down into Middlemarch Canyon.  After the climb, we decided to rest a bit.  In addition to the campers in the campground, this area is very popular with day hikers, most of them hiking the Cochise Trail.  We enjoyed the solitude of the Middlemarch Canyon Trail.  It was just Bill, me and a few cows on the trail.
After a break, we headed back down to the trailhead.  We had lots of pretty vistas along the way.
 Each night ended the same…sitting around a nice warm campfire.


We are back in Benson, and I must admit one of the best things about tent camping is getting a hot shower once we get home!  The next thing on our to-do list is to finish creating the desk area in the fifth wheel.  I'll post pictures soon!




Saturday, February 7, 2015

Our Latest Project

Bill and I love our Cameo 5th wheel.  I refer to it as our condo on wheels, because it has everything we need to live comfortably, except for one thing.  There is no designated desk area, and since Bill and I each have a laptop, we actually would need two desk areas.

Since we've owned the Cameo, we have used the dining table as our "desks."  It worked OK when it just the two of us, but when we had friends over, we had to move the computers and all of the accessories to the bedroom.  Plus, the computers made the dining room look junky.

Today Bill had one of those crazy ideas of his…what if we removed the sofa across the back of the rig and put in two desk areas.  I started thinking…we never really use the sofa so perhaps we could make better use of that area.  Hmmm……

Here is a picture of the rig with the sofa across the back wall.

 Well, the next thing you know, Bill is trying to determine how we can get the sofa out of the rig.  The door measures 28", and wouldn't you know the sofa measures more than 28".  We soon discover the back of the sofa simply slides off, making it possible to fit through the door. 
We had to lift the sofa up and over the island in the kitchen, but we  managed to get it out with no injuries to us or the sofa or the rig.  Mission accomplished.
We simply had to put it back together once we got all the pieces outside.

To see if we could make use of the space vacated by the sofa, 
we brought in a folding table and two folding chairs we had in the shed.  Of course, if we like this change, we will buy "real" furniture and get rid of the folding table and chairs.
So far, we like it very much.  We each have room for our laptops, Bill has room for his ham radio equipment, and our dining table looks like a dining table.  Another bonus is the view we will enjoy while working on our computers.

Tomorrow after church we are heading out for a 3-night camping trip.  When we return, we will be searching for the perfect desks.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hiking the Guindani Trail


Welcome to February!  So, did the groundhog see his shadow where you are?  I have no idea if a shadow was seen in SE Arizona, but I do know we are in the midst of beautiful spring-like weather.  After the 3+ days of steady rain last week, we are happy to see the sun once again.

Yesterday Bill and I decided to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather.  We didn't go far...just down the highway to Kartchner Caverns State Park to hike the Guindani Trail, a 4.2 mile loop through the Whetstone Mountains.


As you can tell, it was a beautiful day for a hike.

We've done this trail before but not with as much water as was flowing down the stream.  I guess that's what happens when the desert receives 3+ days of rain.
This trail crosses the stream several times, so that meant we did a lot of rock jumping.  We met one hiker, coming from the opposite direction, who said there was one spot where we would definitely get wet feet.  I'm happy to say both Bill and I succeeded in keeping our feet dry.  Can't you see the concentration as we crossed the stream time and time again.


After all of the stream crossings, the trail climbs up steadily until we reach the top, where we were rewarded with a beautiful southern view.  The climb was definitely worth it!

This was the perfect spot for a rest and a snack.

All rested, we start the downhill part of the trail.  It's a gradual descent, but with all the rocks on the trail, we still had to watch our step.

 Before we knew it, we were back at the trailhead.  Here is one more picture of the beautiful area.
If you have been following my blog for a while, you might remember I worked in the gift shop at Kartchner Caverns State Park for a few winters a few years back.  We stopped by the gift shop and I discovered I only know one or two people who are still working there…even the manager has changed.

Kartchner Caverns State Park has a lot to offer.  In addition to some nice hiking trails, there are, of course, the cave tours and a very nice campground.  The sites are huge and have water and electric hook-ups.  There are showers available and a dump station, and the views are hard to beat!

With the extended forecast looking so good, Bill and I are putting together a tent camping trip for next week.   Stay tuned!