It’s 75 After All

Look what we found yesterday.  75 degrees!  Just right. And all from passive solar gain on a very beautiful sunny day in NC’s mountains. Kind of makes everything good again. We were ready for it.

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Sunday rained all day. We both already felt terrible, fighting head colds (probably exacerbated by the Wx changes). We never stepped foot outside the camper, not once.  I thought of our readers whom I’ve told, “The camper is large enough because Debbie lets me know when I should find something to do outside. “

We stayed in all day. And we got along famously.  Granted, we neither one felt well enough to start any horseplay. Still, plenty of room for each to do what they wanted.  We stayed dry, consumed pots of green tea, caught up on reading, planned work days, and rested.

We still find the 25′ camper plenty big enough for both of us, even when one of us can’t get outta here. Luckily, it’s a rare day we’re confined to indoors. It wasn’t 75 degrees outside, but felt good enough to stay outside all day yesterday.

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey™, Chasing 75 (again)
©2007-2014 Dreamstreamr

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Great Point of the Day

Sunset has been my favorite time of day since decades ago. I remember the day I 1st realized it. Do you remember the big vinyl covered bean bag chairs? I had one in front of a west-facing window in my house in Fall 1975. Like todsy, the sky was colorful. While the sun was dipping below the horizon, everything just seemed alright for a few minutes.

Today we almost finished clearing the right-of-way for the trench for our u.g. electrical power primary cable. We’ve removed more than a dozen trees and a few mountain laurels. Eleven of the trees are oak, locust or maple, the other one was white pine. Cutting with only a bow saw is a great work-out, and moving all the trunks, tops and brush adds to the job.

Sunset from Woodland Ridge

We’re properly worn out from today’s adventure. The sunset was a perfect reward!

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey™, Chasing “45” (for a little while)
©2007-2014 Dreamstreamr

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Chasing 45 Degrees

These are two of my best friends, these last few days. Warmest things I have

Know where we are? Know just how cold it is here? If you follow us then you may know we claim to “chase 75 degrees” and you might have clicked on our location icon (links to findu.com or aprs.fi to show Google map of N5RTG location).

Well heck, I was talking yesterday to Wag W9WAG, a friend who wishes he had already left Kenosha WI. His current outdoor temp was 8, well colder than our much more comfortable 28 and low of 18. Brr.

What are Debbie and Jim doing in these cold, for them, places? Why haven’t they already fled to warmer climes? We mentioned the wooded acreage we purchased earlier this year. If it was in a much warmer place, then we wouldn’t be running both the furnace and the catalytic just to keep the trailer interior at barely warm enough.

Ashe County is very heavily populated with Christmas trees, and not so much with people. The population swells in the summer, and so might be heading for a sudden drop after the past week’s chilling weather. We stayed through the recent snow. Made nice pictures, a snow person, but didn’t really get very cold.

Our friend Carolyn recommended we spend as much time as we can watching the seasonal changes on our land before we commit to building anything. I hope she remembers to tell us when we can leave. My pile-lined slippers and toque are warm but tend to fall off in bed.

If We’d Known It Would Be This Cold . . .

An oft touted benefit of full time RVing (or, full timing) is the freedom to go where you want, when you want, for as long as you want. We asked some friends in Minnesota why they stay there in the winter. “Winter sports!” Well, sure.

We haven’t carefully investigated how we fell into “Chasing 75 Degrees”. We could burn 7 gallons of propane daily and still stay in cold weather cheaper than paying $25/night or more for a sunny, warm, inviting, recreational campground. The sunny, warm, inviting venues in southern and southwestern USA are beckoning nonetheless.

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We’ve been enjoying staying as often and as many days as we can on our small acreage in Ashe County. We’re at 3,500 feet. Views to the west and north open with leaf fall. This very quiet section has long been held within one family, and remains largely owned by that family’s members. The weather and atmosphere has been perfectly enjoyable for the past month.

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Enjoyment turned to a little something else — perhaps chill — with the sudden onset of wintry weather two days ago. We received over 4″ snowfall, considerably less than the 24″ measured in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains. Startling how rapidly the air can cool and, without sunshine, stay cold. Last night the outside temperature dropped to 25 degrees. The furnace seemed to run constantly to keep the inside above 44 degrees.

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Our hillside was pretty with snow on the sides of the driveway and the forest floor carpeted in white. Snow on the driveway melted away early, but with only slight sunshine peaking through it didn’t have as great an impact upon solar charging our batteries. And who knew you can’t fully charge batteries under 41 degrees Farenheit?

In four weeks we’ve loaded our portable 1kw generator more than in the previous seven years. It’s worked well with a two-three hour run on some cloudy days. I started the generator this morning and the batteries were registering only 1 to 2 amps of charge, instead of the normal 20 amps initial charging rate. Gradually the batteries warmed from the slow charging and started taking more. By noon the sun broke through, the temperature is up to 40, and the solar panels have taken over to a rate of over 11 amps charging.

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The snowy and cold weather didn’t keep us inside. We walked to the bottom of the hill and up again several times throughout the day. Sneakers sufficed since the driveway’s snow had already melted. The cold air still braced us and, you can see, caused at least one of us to bundle up well.

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If we’d known it would be this cold, we might have built a house instead of a road!

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey™
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©2007-2014 Dreamstreamr

Thinking out of the box

dreamstreamr:

I thought this would be fun to repost. And I’m too lazy to write a new one right now.

Jim

Originally posted on Dreamstreamr Odyssey:

I sit expectantly on the dining room table. Both the two-leggeds are pretending to be otherwise occupied. The story of a table-game’s life, eh? Everyone is just too busy anymore. Sit, sit, sit on the closet shelf and for what? Nothing, most of the time. Dark, quiet, still, pretty cramped. Used to have more room, before these wooly things started sitting all over the shelf. It’s not like I was cold before, either.

Sometimes a two-legged pulls me off the shelf and puts me in the great big room, like when bunches of two-leggeds are around. Then nothing. Nothing. Just sitting around. Oh, what’s this pirate ship looking thing? This wasn’t here last time, was it? I might as well sit in the closet on the shelf except it’s nice to get out and look around. Oh for the old days, when I sat on the table all day. …

View original 436 more words

Camp in the Airstream in Indianapolis on Race Weekend?

Last year, after attending Alumapalooza, a great rally held in Jackson Center OH by R and B Events, we were on a serious quest for Apple Genius bar help on a portable drive/router we’d bought. Fortunately for us, the Apple Store in Indianapolis is easily accessible from the Interstate. Most times we get excellent assistance from the Apple store pros and we always look forward to correcting what we’ve goofed up on our devices and learning something. We fared less well that time, but whetted our appetite for a later visit to Indianapolis.

One year later we’re again heading west from Jackson Center, but this time to a very sweet little town a little north of Indianapolis, Noblesville IN. Our friends Carolyn and Mike invited us to stay with them and gave us a nice choice — park in Indianapolis or park in the countryside near Noblesville. Hmm, it’s Memorial Day weekend, the Indy 500 runs this weekend, there’ll be 1/2 million folks in and around Indianapolis. What would you do?

Nice place to stay

Nice place to stay

We parked in Carolyn’s meadow for the long holiday weekend. Good choice! It was quiet in her part of the countryside, we had lots of room, partial shade, 3amp electric, all much better than we usually bargain for. Little did we know, our hosts had even more in store for us.

Riverwalk

Mike and Carolyn drove us into Indianapolis, gave us a nice tour, and we visited the Ansel Adams exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum. We spent a wonderful afternoon slowly touring the exhibit, then had a bite to eat at the museum’s patio café, and returned to speed crawl the remaining exhibits. Not at all fair to Remington and CM Russell, but we just weren’t there for them this time.

Hmm, there's a start switch somewhere. . .

We took a day off enjoying life in the country. A little hiking, some great eating, and we were ready for some aviation. Rick, Carolyn’s neighbor, showed us one of his little project UFOs. Actually, they’re UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles, I guess it means. He has tremendous electronics skills and plenty of energy, and has put a little of it into building some really neat UAVs.

It does much more than just fly

It does much more than just fly

Rick skillfully (he humbly admits, skill involves painful and sometimes expensive errors) piloted the six-motor battery-driven UAV up, then up some more and more. No matter how high he took it, we could still hear the carbon-fiber rotors spinning. And he was able to track where it was and also, with a GoPro camera, watch us or anything else he wanted to track.

Wow! This is so COOL!

Wow! This is so COOL!

Debbie watched the monitor briefly, fascinated by the amount of information and the video quality. It displayed both the GoPro camera live video and the UAV’s vital statistics including altitude, speed, and battery usage/life.

You're letting him fly it?

You’re letting him fly it?

We don’t know what Rick was thinking, but he let Jim pilot the UAV for a couple of minutes. Two joysticks moving back and forth, the UAV soared, dipped, and went left and right. Jim may never get one like Rick’s hand built from scratch model, but maybe a ready-to-fly would be fun. . .

Conner Prairie experience

Conner Prairie experience

The next day, having experienced all facets of country living (there’s not more to it, is there?) Mike and Carolyn drove us to Conner Prairie, an interesting living history park nearby. We spent the afternoon talking with the “actors”, enjoying how they respond to out of context questions or remarks. They are dressed for and reenacting life in 1836. When you ask one of them about any terms or concepts newer than 1836, like sanitation or sterility, they are most likely to give you a blank stare then ask, “What’s that word again?” Wonderfully done, and a great way to spend an afternoon with friends.

Image captured by spy guy

Image captured by spy guy

We did more, we ate more, we saw more — but without further elaboration suffice to say, we had a great visit with our fun friends and look forward to another visit sometime.

Other Views of the World’s Largest Ham Radio Convention

We left NC to attend the world’s largest ham radio convention, Hamvention, in Dayton OH. Weather was very very mixed — rain, cold, frozen rain, rain, sunny. Our wardrobes were well tested in the few days of this big show. This is our third year as volunteer shuttle drivers.

driving a shuttle cart at Hamvention 2014

Many hams have big and bigger antennas, and some organizations can afford even larger ones. This one is top of the line, shown here by the well-heeled local amateur radio society. I think this big antenna tower is attached to the top of the white van.

A typical sight at Hamvention -- BIG BEAM

Not everything in Dayton was about amateur radio, though. Our friends invited us to dinner at The Engineer’s Club, a 100 year old Dayton establishment. The tech men and women of Dayton were (and are) just incredibly talented and imaginative. What a great bunch of brains! Those engineering folks did a great job accommodating fine dining and friendships too.

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Full-timers can’t pack just anything in their portable home. We shed a lot of furniture and possessions when we sold our house and moved into this 188 sf home. You have priorities, you know what is worth carrying, and when to bring it out. How big is the cellar in that rig?

Party? What party?

Work awhile, play awhile, it’s even better with friends. This fun group of friends gathered in John Bryan State Park a little NE of Dayton, for an early Memorial Day picnic. We enjoyed fantastic weather for several days in this gorgeous state park. Celebrating with our friends is best!

Memorial Day Picnic, a week early

After the partying, we seriously needed exercise. John Bryan State Park is cleverly situated adjacent to Clifton Gorge, a very nifty and sometimes stunning walk in the woods. We donned our backpacks, stuffed full of junk to create training weight for our August backpacking trip, and walked the length of the trail along Clifton Gorge and back. No pictures of how we look afterward!

Narrows at the Clifton Gorge

Next up? Let’s go to greater Indianapolis IN the same weekend another 1/2 million people do, and see how we can stay out of their way.

See you there!

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey™
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