Books 2

As we’ve been putting books into boxes and taking them to the storage unit, I’ve noticed how empty the house has become.

Both my wife and I are engineers and often, we will be looking for a reference. Usually we will look on the bookshelves for the answer, rather than getting on the computer and “looking it up on the internet”.

It doesn’t matter if the reference need is for a technical fact, a historical fact, or a local interest fact. What often happens is we will find other interesting things during our search process and after we’ve taken care of our immediate concern, we’ll go back and look at the other things we have found. It’s similar to looking up a word in a dictionary and, while doing that, looking at other words that one has never seen, nor considered, before.

A few days ago, my wife was looking for a table of nuclear cross sections and in the process of finding that reference, she put another book on top of the bookcase so she could find it later. After she was done with the nuclear stuff, she sat down and started reading the book she had put aside–a book on early American naval battles in upstate New York.

For me, I found a cookbook while looking for a book on gravity cells (an early type of battery that was used to power the telegraphs “way back when”). I found what I needed about the gravity cell and then I ended up baking some biscuits from a recipe in the cookbook.

Using the internet is far more efficient. For me, I would have typed the words gravity cell into my favorite search engine and I would have ended up with a long list of references. But, this is sometimes too efficient.

Had either of us used the internet for doing our research, we would have quickly found the facts we needed, but we would have done little to expand our knowledge. She wouldn’t have learned about naval battles in upstate New York and we wouldn’t have eaten the wonderful garlic-cheese biscuits.

While packing up the books, both my wife and I keep coming across things that attract our interest, but we have to keep packing the books into the boxes..and temporarily making things worse.

My wife said she is looking forward to when the books will be back on the shelves and, again, a part of our lives.

And I agree.


Now that I’ve built more shelves, I’m back to loading boxes with books and putting them into the storage unit.

So that I don’t overload whatever truck or trailer I’m going to use when I actually move, each box has been weighed and the weight noted on the box. If my addition is correct, slightly more than 6,000 pounds (2,700kg) of books have been put into storage. My wife thinks we’re about 2/3 finished boxing up books. I think we’re only about 1/2 way done.

A Disadvantage

I’ve posted several times about my 1957 truck and all of its advantages. We’ll, it does have one disadvantage.

This image was made in February.

Today it was 112F/44C…in the shade. I don’t bother looking at the temperature shown by a thermometer sitting in the sun…..112F is hot enough that I don’t need to see higher thermometer readings.

Today, I had to go get some lumber and the truck’s long bed is perfect for hauling the 10 foot long 2 by 4 lumber I needed.

When I got into the truck I “just happened” to notice that it was hot inside the truck. The truck is a cab-over engine design, so I am sitting beside the engine when I’m driving it and even though there is a protective cover over the engine, it doesn’t do much to keep the engine heat out of the truck cab. The only “air conditioning” is what is jokingly called 4 40 air conditioning, which is 4 open windows and driving 40mph. So, it became even more hot inside as I continued to drive.

I was about an hour driving around in the truck, taking used motor oil to the auto parts store so the oil can be recycled, going to the storage unit to pick up my electric saw, going to the post office that is on the way to the lumber yard and then to the lumber yard.

I parked the truck at a shaded spot at the lumber yard so all the lumber could easily be loaded. I looked at the digital thermometer in the truck cab and it read 137F/58C. When I pulled my cellphone out of my pocket to get a picture of the thermometer, the phone was off. I turned the phone back on and displayed on the screen was a warning that the phone was powering off due to being overheated. The phone powered off again, so I don’t have any pictures of the thermometer.

Teeth, Oil Changes, Cleaning, and Other Boring Stuff

The day after we got home from Michigan, we were invited to park the camper at a mountain cabin as guests of the owner….they play bluegrass and my wife plays the banjo. Off we went.

The day after we returned from the mountain cabin, I was sitting in a dental chair, getting a dental checkup and my teeth cleaned. I joined the “no cavity club”, which was welcome news.

On the way home from the dentist’s office, I stopped at a local auto parts place and got all the stuff (oil, oil filter, air filter) to change the engine oil in the two vehicles we took to Michigan. It was 115F/46C degrees when I started and was a couple of degrees warmer when I finished. The filters are drained, I’m dried off and now all I need to do is to take the used oil back to the auto parts place so the oil can be recycled.

Today it’s house cleaning. This is not my normal dust, vacuum and mop what I can reach. No. This time I’m using a ladder to get to the bookcase tops and dust off the books in the bookcases…..before moving the furniture around so the entire floor in the house can be cleaned. I feel like I’m getting for house guests. 🙂

…just the typical stuff…..


I grew up in an area where ticks were “everywhere” and I would remove 8-10 ticks per day from our dog. Even today, more than 40 years later, when I pet a dog, I automatically feel for ticks.

None of my parents or grandparents smoked, so there was no need for “smokers’ ashtrays” but we kept some around for “tick duty”. These ashtrays were two compartment ashtrays with one side filled with Petroleum Jelly and the other side filled with sewing machine oil. When any of us would find a tick on the dog, we would put some Petroleum Jelly on the tick, wait 10-15 seconds and then remove the tick. The tick would then be drowned in the sewing machine oil.

Back then it was considered acceptable for smokers to “light up” in a non-smoker’s house and the height of rudeness to not offer the smoker an ash tray. We were not rude. When someone would ask for an ashtray, I would offer them one of the tick ashtrays. They would notice the drowned ticks, decide not to smoke and leave when the tobacco cravings became too great for them. 🙂 I hated (and still do) the smell of cigarette smoke, so them leaving without smoking did not bother me.

We had been traveling where ticks are more common and today I found 4 ticks on our two dogs. Tomorrow morning we are taking them to the dog groomer that works at the veterinarian’s office and they will get a “tick bath”.

The ticks I found today were set outside on the cement and hit with a hammer. They all “splatted”, so they are certainly dead.

Yes, I’ve been checking myself for ticks, as has my wife. People can get ticks too. So far, we have not found any ticks on us.

They are gross little “bugs” (actually arachnids….spiders). I think they are even worse than leeches.

Wolf Creek Pass

On the way home we were, as the CW McCall song Wolf Creek Pass goes, “Way up on the Great Divide” and heading toward Pagosa Springs. Either the road has been vastly improved since 1975 or CW McCall (not his real name) used a lot of dramatic license when describing the road. It’s not *that* bad.

I do hold a commercial driver license and I’m licensed to crash drive “the big stuff”, but In this case I was driving a Ford F-350 long bed crew cab 4WD truck carrying a Lance Camper. So I’ll need to use some dramatic license to say I was “truckin’ on down the other side”.

It went just fine…second gear was perfect.

Meanwhile, back at the top.

And a closeup of the text on the right hand side of the sign.

And me doing what the text suggests–a foot on each side of the bronze line. I suppose it was a good thing I had not been drinking a lot of coffee. 🙂

On the Way Home

After leaving Mackinaw City, Michigan, we drove into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and then into Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado.

If you don’t recognize the image below, it’s Devils Tower…made famous by the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

After leaving the Devils Tower National Monument, we then stayed for the night at the Goshen County fairgrounds in Torrington, Wyoming, where we were the only ones in the camping area.

My only guess for the camping sites being completely empty (despite the VERY reasonable rates) was that Torrington is on a secondary highway instead of an interstate highway, and because the campsites do not seem to be publicized. I only found out about the sites because I had taken the time to talk with the amazingly friendly and very kind local residents.

While at the fairgrounds we watched a horse trainer, in 90 minutes, train a horse from “has not seen a saddle” to “green” (can be ridden, but needs a lot more work before it’s safe to ride by a novice rider). Doing this in 90 minutes is amazing and was even more amazing because the trainer did not use any hard handed tactics. Instead, he very gently gained the trust of the horse….convincing it that none of this “new and scary stuff” was going to cause any harm.

We don’t mind the using the interstate highways and will take them if we are needing to be somewhere as soon as possible, but we much prefer using the US Highways, state highways and even the county roads. We both feel we see far more things when taking “the roads less traveled”.

Two more times I have baked sourdough bread in the camper and I think the reason for the pale top crust of the bread was due to my dampening the top of the uncooked bread with water instead of a water-cornstarch mixture. I bought cornstarch along the way and after using it, the bread is looking like I think it should.

Bread on the Run

Before our daughter left, she spent a couple of days with us in the truck camper. Three people and two dogs in a truck camper is a tight squeeze, but it was all good.

I had brought my sourdough starters along so that they would not “die” from neglect during the month we were gone from home. The day before our daughter left, I got out the sourdough and tried making some bread.

It worked, although I need to get used to how the propane oven in the camper “acts” when baking bread…if you look closely, the bread does not have a nice golden colored crust. Even so, it was properly baked. I normally mix some cornstarch in some water, and brush that onto the bread before I begin baking it. I had to skip it this time because I did not have any cornstarch in the camper, so perhaps that is why the bread did not look “normal”.

Our daughter took this bread back to her new home.

I also used this as an opportunity to show her how to make the bread. She helped and knows the process, but I’m sure she will need to learn how her oven, local climate and local water all interact during the bread making.


Two days ago we were in Mackinaw City, Michigan, USA and both my wife and I, and our daughter were ready to drive off to our homes. Our daughter back the 100 miles back to her new place in northern Michigan and my wife and I the 2,400 miles back to the USA desert southwest.

Our daughter was sad and excited, all at the same time.

She picked “yellow lab” when she was 9 years old and that was 13-1/2 years ago. Yellow lab is now 14 years old and this is likely the last time they will be together.

And, excited that she will be starting a job at a bank…and the job is related to her business administration degree….

Good Luck.

If you are lost, you can look and you will find us

Portable Pressure

My wife and I did leave home on 31 May, just like we planned, but we took an extra few days to get “up here” to northern Michigan.

Neither of us mind driving the Interstate highways, but we find them rather boring. We started out on the Interstate highways but after the first day, we both decided to reroute ourselves via the older US Highways and various state highways. One can see a lot more by driving *through* the towns instead of around them.

We also decided to take 2 vehicles because the dogs didn’t have much room in the back seat of the crew cab pickup truck. Our 14 year old dog loves to ride, but has problems walking for about 10 minutes after getting out of the truck’s back seat. With the extra car, we could lay the back seats down and she (and the other dog) had plenty of room to stretch out. So, when we would get her out of the car, she had no problems walking around.

Now, to the title of the blog. We (my wife and I) are probably 90% vegan. In other words, we prefer plant based meals if it’s not a difficult thing to accomplish. With the camper, this isn’t too difficult as long as we can find things at the grocery store.

Dried beans and dried rice are wonderful in the camper–light, no spoilage, no need for refrigeration until after cooking. But, the beans take a long time to cook. So, we found a small pressure cooker. Instead of beans taking all day, they take 30 minutes in the pressure cooker. This means we can cook beans at a lunch stop.

So, there is the small pressure cooker on the stove in the (fits in the back of a pickup truck) camper. Yes, the space is tiny, probably 80 square feet (7 square meters), but IT CAN GO PLACES!

Not that I get anything out of the recommendation, but the pressure cooker is made by Presto. I follow and in one of their posts, they were describing a 50 year old Presto canner and how the company still had parts for the canner. To me, any company that supports 50 year old products is a good company.

So, if you need a small pressure cooker, the Presto brand is one to be considered.