Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Solar Cooker


So I'm thinking of getting a solar cooker. When we lived in a house, I wanted to build one but never had the time, and our yard was so full of trees that I doubt I would have gotten much use out of it anyway. Now that we live in our motorhome, I simply no longer have the tools to build one. That leaves me the option of buying one.

But which one?

Global Sun Oven - Solar Cooker - This one seems to be widely accepted as one of the best solar ovens available. It gets high marks at all the sales/review sites and is widely used around the world. This seems to be the solar oven of choice for most global hunger charities. The downsides are it's expense ($220-$270 depending on where you buy) and size/weight (21 lbs) and it doesn't come with any cookware.

Scott Resources Portable Solar Oven - This one is inexpensive enough for sure. It is also small and light. The reviews however aren't very kind. General consensus seems to be that this is a great inexpensive way to try out solar cooking, but if you want something that will last you need to spend a bit more.

Solar Oven Cook Food Using the Sun - This one appears to be so compact that a hiker could easily carry it in a backpack. It's very inexpensive and lightweight but I think it's intent is more for backpackers or tent campers rather than any serious solar cooking.

One company has taken the novel approach of making a hybrid solar oven. This looks like a nice setup and gives you the option of using the 120 volt as a backup should the sun leave you high and dry. I also like the self-contained solar-suitcase appearance of the product. All-in-all it looks like a really good oven for a full-time rv'er. The only downside is the price.

And that brings me to this one, the Sport Solar Oven. It is large enough to cook most anything you would want to cook in a solar oven yet not so large it cannot be stowed in an RV. It's light weight (11 lbs), inexpensive, made with recycled soda bottles and aluminium and comes with cookware.

I'm going to keep researching a little more before making my decision. If anyone out there has any experience with any of these or any other solar ovens, I would be very interested to hear from you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chicken Scampi

Ingredients

  • 2 raw chicken breasts
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Kraft parmesan cheese
  • dash of salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) package linguini
  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 3 T. white wine
  • 3 T. parsley
  • Lemon wedges (optional) for garnish

Directions

1. Cut chicken into thin strips. In a small bowl, beat egg until blended. Prepare a larger bowl with the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and dash of salt and pepper.

2. Dip chicken in egg mixture and then coat with bread crumb mixture.

3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add breaded chicken pieces and cook thoroughly (approx. 4 minutes per side). Remove cooked chicken and set aside.

4. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini and cook as directed on package.

5. In skillet that chicken was prepared in, add 1/2 c. butter, garlic, wine, lemon, parsley and additional salt and pepper if desired.

6. Drain pasta and add 1/4 cup butter, then toss until pasta is coated. At the same time, add chicken into sauce and toss.

7. Plate the pasta, then add chicken and sauce on top. Garnish with parsley or lemon wedges

 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Our Trip to Peru Part III (Cuzco and Machu Picchu)

The city of Cuzco nestled in the Andes.
(continued from part II)
Our local travel agent met us at the airport and after a few minute ride back into town we arrived at our hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Los Andes de America, a Best Western of all things. The hotel was in a great location, just a short walk to the main plaza and the hotel had a great center courtyard to sit and enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee before or after a day of adventuring around the city.

Upon arrival to our hotel, we were handed a cup of coca tea, made from coca leaves, to enjoy during the check-in process. Cuzco is at an elevation of between 11,000 and 12,000 feet, depending on where you are and whose stats your reading. The locals swear that coca tea is excellent at preventing altitude sickness. I'm not sure if there is any validity to that assertion, but I can say that neither Nancy or I had any trouble with altitude sickness and we did drink the tea.

Nancy and I chose to walk around Cuzco and found it to be a safe and pleasurable experience. We were in our early thirties when we took the trip and in reasonable health but even at that, walking around at that altitude can still get you winded pretty quickly. If you think it could be a problem, take a cab, they are fairly plentiful and fairly reasonably priced.

The city is filled with old world charm and street vendors are numerous. Bargains can be had on alpaca sweaters, hats, gloves, art and jewelry. American dollars are accepted everywhere as well as the native Sol.


Cuzco is the traditional starting point of the Inca Sun Trail, a 4 day hike through the Andes down to the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu. Nancy and I were not adventurous enough to attempt the hike so we opted for the train ride. At the time we were there, the train ride took about 2.5 hours and was excellent! It seems they have since added a shorter route that takes only 90 minutes to reach Aguas Calientes, but if I were to do it again, I would still take the longer windy route. The train winds it's way through the Sacred Valley, passing through tiny villages along the way. On the train are troubadours and vendors dressed in traditional Peruvian garb. Time passes quickly, and before you know it you are in Aguas Calientes, a small village at the foot of Machu Picchu.

This was the one part of the trip I did not care for. As soon as you exit the train you are bombarded with people selling tourist junk. The path from the train to the buses that bring you up the switchbacks to Machu Picchu is lined with tourist-trap junk vendors. Hold onto your wallet.

Once on board the bus, the trip up to the top of Machu Picchu is fairly quick. As the bus travels along the narrow switchbacks carved into the shear sides of the mountain, think about the fact that, when this city was in it's prime, nearly everything needed to live had to be carried by hand up this mountain. There was no water source at the top of the mountain. Water was either captured from the rain or carried by hand. Some food was grown on the terraces carved into the mountain sides but much of it was, again, carried by hand from the valley below.

It was once believed that these terraces were carved for the purpose of growing crops, many now believe that it is more likely they were carved to prevent erosion and land slides.
There is one hotel adjacent to Machu Picchu, The Sanctuary Lodge if you wish to stay there you must make your reservations well in advance of your trip. If you do stay there you will be afforded the rare opportunity to remain in Machu Picchu after all the other tourists are taken away by the last shuttle bus. You will also have an opportunity to watch the sun rise over the ancient Inca city before any other tourists arrive. It is amazing to wander the city with so few others around. Truly breathtaking.

One of the few remaining Sacrificial Alters. When the Spanish invaded, they smashed all that they found. Since Machu Picchu was so well hidden high atop the mountains, the Spanish never found this one.

The engineering is exquisite. Each stone was carefully carved to fit perfectly with the next. Construction this intricate is simply not found anywhere today.
For those who feel extremely adventurous, there is a a trail that leads to Huyan Picchu, a much smaller portion of the city built even higher on an adjacent peak. The trail is very steep and treacherous and should not be attempted by anything but expert hikers.

View of Machu Picchu from Huyan Picchu.
Stay tuned for Our Trip to Peru Part IV (Iquitos and the Amazon)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Our Trip to Peru Part II (Lima to Cuzco)

Upon arriving at our seats, Nancy and I stowed our carry-on's and began to settle in for our flight over the Andes headed for Cuzco. When I sat down in my seat, it felt as though the entire seat rocked back and then made a loud pop as it fell back into position. After a minor investigation I found that my seat was in fact, not bolted to the floor! Oh sure, the stud was there where it should be, there were simply no nuts fastening the chair to the studs. I suppose this makes swapping the seats out easier when one of the goats on board has an "accident" in flight.

My next surprise came when I grabbed for my seat belt... only one end was actually attached to the seat! I guess this wasn't so bad since the seat wasn't attached to anything. After all, why would I want the false sense of security of being firmly secured to a seat that would only fly out of the plane in the event of a nervous goat opening the door mid-flight?

When I mentioned these things to the stewardess pre-flight, she responded by smiling and walking on by. Well, I wanted adventure... here we go.

On the plus side, the flight from Lima to Cuzco was extremely turbulent as we skimmed the tops of the Andes the entire way. I have no idea why the pilot felt the need to fly so low. My only assumption was that he wanted to smoke and in order to be courteous to the other passengers, he felt it best to crack a window making it impossible to fly at a higher altitude. I mean what else could explain the tremendous wind noise that seemed to be coming from the cockpit?

Eventually, the pilot found a small crevice between the mountains into which he could crash-land our plane and bring a merciful end to this flight. Turns out the crevice was the airport in Cuzco, and the crash landing was actually a normal landing... I never would have guessed.

Stay tuned for part three, Cuzco and the train ride to Machu Picchu.

Our Trip to Peru (Arriving in Lima)

Me sitting atop one of the ruins overlooking the ancient Inca city.

Since we are currently spending quite a bit of time here in Livingston, I thought I would tell you all about some of our previous journeys. I'll tell them in multiple parts so as not to get too long winded.

Several years ago, I won a silent auction for 2 business class tickets to Lima Peru for only a couple hundred dollars. I was very excited because I had always wanted to see Machu Picchu and visit the Amazon jungle and both are short trips from Lima on local airlines.

I raced home to let Nancy know the good news. At first she was a bit befuddled, "why exactly did you buy tickets to Lima?"

After explaining to her that these tickets were really just a nice way to get to Peru and that we would only really be using Lima as a base to hit the Amazon and Machu Picchu she was back on board. That is until we actually arrived in Lima and had to take our first local flight to Cuzco.

Our "plane" landed and pulled up close to the airport. After stopping, a wheeled ladder was pushed against the side and a ramp was lowered from the back. The departing passengers were shuttled out the back of the plane while the embarking passengers (Nancy and I among them) were climbing the ladder to board the plane. There was no apparent safety check nor even refueling as is customary with US flights. This flight was a stop and go. A very disconcerting practice especially for a semi-nervous flyer like myself.

Once on board the plane, the first thing we noticed were some interesting smells. It quickly became apparent where those smells orginated as we saw chickens and a goat on the plane. Never did I think I would be boarding a plane with livestock. I knew right then that this was going to be interesting... if we survived...

Stay tuned for part two, Lima to Cuzco...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place the chicken, butter, soup, chicken broth and onion in a slow cooker.
  2. Cover, and cook for 4 to 5 hours on High. About 90 minutes before serving, flatten each biscuit and cut into pieces (strips or pie slice shapes) and place the biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.
 

It worked!

Trinity explosion July 16, 1945


We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita... "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." - Dr. Robert Oppenheimer


The title of this article, "It worked!", is reported to be the less eloquent statement of Dr. Oppenheimer immediately following the Trinity explosion.


Without really setting out to do so, I have been a bit of a atomic tourist. Nancy and I have been to Hiroshima and stood at "ground zero" for the first atomic weapon used in war, the since named A-Bomb Dome. We have seen the Enola Gay which carried the bomb piloted by Paul Tibbets to it's destiny. We even have a small model of the Enola Gay autographed by Paul Tibbets before his death in 2007.


The A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima, Japan

It's a very surreal experience visiting these places that have had such a profound effect on the history of mankind. As you walk the streets of Hiroshima... the very streets that some 60 years ago were laid to waste and strewn with rubble and death... the streets that, in some areas, still bare the ghostly shadows of victims burned into the concrete... the streets that tell the terrible tale written by unleashing the power of the sun as a tool of war... Here, some 60 years later, hoards of Japanese students, all dressed in their school colors, move through these same streets as though they were flocks of birds all moving in unison. As they see and American tourist they all excitedly yell, "Hello!" to demonstrate their knowledge of English. A response of "Konnichiwa!" in return is met with excited laughter and many shouts of "Konnichiwa!" back at you.

The resilience of life is truly humbling.

The Memorial Cenotaph. Through it can be seen the A-Bomb dome in the background as well as the eternal flame and a chest containing all the names of the victims of the blast. On it the inscription reads, "Repose ye in peace, for the error shall not be repeated"


The Trinity Site, in White Sands Missile Range New Mexico is open to the public only twice a year on the first Saturday in April and again on the first Saturday in October. The site is on an active U.S. military base, so you will be asked to leave any items such as guns or alcohol at the gate. There is no storage at the gate for these items, so they are simply left at the side of the road. If you don't wish to leave any items like this on the side of the road, don't bring them with you.

Once through the gate you still have a several mile drive to reach the actual site. There is a large parking lot that can easily accommodate all types of RV's.

Our rig parked at the Trinity site.

Once there, you will have an opportunity to enter the "blast zone" where the first 19 kiloton atomic blast was unleashed on earth. What little is left of the 100 ft steel tower can still be seen as well as a "Fat Man" casing, many photos chronicling the event, and Trinitite can also be found littering the area. 

Trinitite is the green glass that was created by the intense heat of the blast. The Trinitite is slightly higher in radioactivity than the rest of the area so handle it at your discretion. It is also a federal offense to remove Trinitite from the area, so unless you're looking to do some federal time, I suggest you leave it there for the next person to discover.

This one I like to call, "Fat man in front of The Fat Man".

This is exactly what you should not do with Trinitite. Notice I am using my left hand. Since I am right handed, when this hand shrivels and falls off, I will not be totally debilitated.

You will also have an opportunity to view the McDonald ranch house, site of the first plutonium core assembly.

For those of you concerned with exposure to radiation, a one hour walk around "ground zero" (without handling Trinitite) is slightly less exposure to radiation than a coast to coast flight.

If you find yourself in the White Sands Missile range area on either of those two Saturdays per year, the Trinity site is a must do.




Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beef Stroganoff Recipe


Ingredients

  • 1 pound sirloin (or petite sirloin) steak, cut into bite size strips
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cans Campbell's Beef Consumé soup
  • 1/2 cup light or fat free sour cream
  • 1 (16 ounce) package No Yolk extra wide (or dumpling) egg noodles

Directions

  1. Add flour and sirloin to a ziploc style bag.  Shake and coat the sirloin with the flour. 
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the coated sirloin.  The butter and flour should start to form a roux.  At this point, slowly add the first can of Beef Consumé and stir constantly, allowing the liquid to thicken.
  3. Add the other two cans of Beef Consumé, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 25-40 minutes. Then add the sour cream and black pepper, stirring well.
  4. Prepare egg noodles according to package directions. Serve beef mixture over the egg noodles.

Beef Stroganoff and comings and goings

One of the day to day bitter-sweet moments of full-timing is the coming and going of your neighbors. Depending on the size of the park you usually have rig's pulling in and out everyday. Sometimes this means saying goodbye to a new friend. Other times, it's saying hello to a new friend you just haven't yet met.

When you live in a house, your neighborhood is pretty static. Sure, people come and go from time to time, but for the most part, your neighbors are your neighbors for years. If you are lucky, you have some neighbors who become family. If you are unlucky... well most of us have heard the stories. (or lived them) But basically, love them or hate them, they are your neighbors and you need to get used to them.

In the RV lifestyle it's just the opposite. Unless you travel in a caravan, you can expect to have at least some different neighbors every single day even if you don't move at all. Today we had a mass exodus. We lost 5 close neighbors.

For me, when they leave, I feel just a twinge of jealousy. Watching my neighbors pack up the rig, pull in the slides and drive off the pad leaves me feeling wistful for the open road. I find myself imaging it were me leaving... heading out onto the many beautiful roads of America... looking forward to what is around the next corner... and whatever new neighbors may be waiting for me...

Tonight Nancy and I enjoyed Beef Stroganoff. This is a nice hearty meal to be enjoyed on a cool night. The only problem with making Beef Stroganoff in an RV is the moisture. This is especially irksome on a cold evening when maximum ventilation is not practical. (exactly when this meal hits the spot best) We do our best to have the "Fantastic Fan" near the kitchen running as well as the vent fan over the stove to try to mitigate some of the moisture. It doesn't always work.

This is Jeannie sitting on the dash watching dinner being cooked. Note the condensation on the windshield. She is obviously not amused.

Behold the steam-maker! Looks pretty tasty doesn't it? I'll post Nancy's recipe later. The main ingredient is fine Kobe filet mignon. (And if you believe that...)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fajita Night

Full-time RV'ers are very interesting people. I know I've mentioned this before but it really cannot be said enough. Today we were chatting with our neighbor about satellite reception here in the Rainbows End Escapees Park in Livingston Texas. After chatting for about 20 minutes, we both came to the conclusion, "it's pretty bad" LOL.

Beyond the reception issues, we learned that he and his wife currently work-camp as gate keepers for oil and gas drilling companies. Apparently, there are a number of drilling companies that have begun hiring RV'ers to man the gates 24/7. In exchange, the RV'er gets free site, electricity, water and sewer plus a salary. The downside is that the site needs to be manned 24/7, so either you or your partner must always be home and available at the site while it is active. The plus side is, the salary is pretty decent, the locations tend to be remote (this could be a minus) and the job is pretty simple.

A few moments after talking with the "gate keepers" Nancy and I decided it was time to take Luke and Leia for a walk. As usual, we were met with the standard, "here come the greyhounds!" or "here come the babies!" (still not sure if that comment is aimed at us or the dogs LOL).

As we strolled past a shinny-clean older Airstream trailer parked next to a mid-ninety's Ford diesel pickup we heard a man chirp, "Good afternoon!"

This comment seemed to be clearly aimed at humans since dogs don't really distinguish between morning, afternoon, evening or any other time for that matter besides light or dark :-).

"Hello! Beautiful day isn't it?" I shouted back.

"Lovely dog!" Nancy proclaimed in an ironic turnabout. "Is he a Golden?"

"Yes he is." The man affirmed.

The dog was lying on the picnic table with a paw lazily hanging over the side. He looked so sloughed onto that picnic table that you would swear he was a stuffed toy left there by a disinterested child.

"Back home, he taught himself that he wasn't to leave the porch unless he was told too. Once we came here, he decided that this picnic table was a porch, so he will stay there all day unless I tell him to leave. With Goldens, sometimes the best way to train them is to get outta their way and let them show you what they already know." The man exclaimed proudly.

A few more minutes of chatting revealed that this gentleman has work-camped everywhere from Amazon in Kansas, up to Yellow Stone NP. We picked his brain for 15 minutes or so about all the locations he worked until Luke and Leia started to get a little restless.

We learned that working in Yellow Stone is a dichotomy. It's a great place to work but you often end up working split shifts and fairly long hours leaving little time to enjoy the beauty of the park itself.

We also learned that working for Amazon is just that, work. The folks there are very nice, and it's a great place to work, but work it is. Often, 10 hour days are the norm. It's nice to know it's available, but not my first choice.

Today Nancy made fajitas for dinner. I like fajitas. They are fairly healthy, fun to put together and of course, very tasty. This time, Nancy marinated the chicken in Claude's Fajita Marinating Sauce. It only took about an hour of marinating for the fresh chicken to really absorb that smokey, fajita flavor. Drop the chicken in a frying pan with some sliced onions and peppers and 10-12 minutes later you've got some tasty fajita filling!

As always, enjoy!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Burgers???

I'm not sure why but I have been skipping breakfast for the last few days and today was no exception. It was still overcast with a light mist falling this morning when Leia got me up at 6am to take her and Luke out. Normally, Luke is the alarm clock. Leia is usually sleeping soundly on my side of the bed with her feet firmly pressed against Nancy while I cling to the edge of the bed. Luke will usually wake up around 7am, climb off the couch and slink his way into the bedroom. Once there he will gently nose any bare skin I have exposed until I wake up. Nothing says good morning like a cold, wet, large dog nose on warm, bare skin.

The only problem with Big Luke coming that far into the bedroom is that he can't turn around and he can't back out, so it's, "get outta the way daddy, I'm coming up!"

As soon as I sit up, up he comes! There we are, Luke, Leia, Nancy, Ferris, Jeanie and me all at least partially on a queen size bed in the back of the rig.

Today Leia beat Luke to the punch. She started licking my face awake slightly before 6. I pulled on Nancy's robe and out we went. It's a tight fit but as long as I'm careful about bending down to pick up their "business" it works.LOL

For lunch today Nancy decided to make a favorite of hers for us, Black Bean Burgers. Yeah, not a fan. Burger implies meat. Like the Wendys lady said in the eighties, "Where's the beef?" Don't get me wrong, I can eat a turkey burger and like it or a chicken burger....but beans? Nope, not for me. I ate one. I mean I don't want to be rude ;-). Actually, eating the burger isn't that bad. Too me, it's just not that good. And the worst part of a Bean Burger, you taste it for the next 3 hours.

If you generally like veggie burgers, the recipe is below on the blog. I'm not sure how you do it, but if you can, a veggie burger is certainly better for you than a real beef burger and this version has a southwestern flair that would be good if it had beef! lol

Home-Made Black Bean Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs

Directions

  1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
  3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
  5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
  6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Dinner Pasta Pomodoro

As promised, today was pretty wet. It rained all night last night and it's still raining now. Good for the environment here, but bad for us and the animals. Luke and Leia have gotten so accustomed to going for long walks daily that when they can't go, they get a bit stir crazy. It was a good day to stay in and watch football. Go Jets!!! (I'm a huge Cowboys fan, but if you watch football even casually you probably know how good they were this year)

The park was dead. Everyone hid out in the coaches or their homes. The only people who braved the elements were the pet owners, like us whose pets just wouldn't take no for an answer. At least the temperature was warm (upper 60's), so it really wasn't too bad being outside except for the getting wet part ;-).

I skipped breakfast again today, and lunch was simple cold cut sandwiches so I didn't bore you with the details. Dinner tonight however was one of my favorites, pasta! Nancy started making this recipe about a year ago and it has quickly become a staple. We usually enjoy this meal once or twice a month. The sauce is tangy and slightly sweet and clings to the pasta providing flavor in every bite. It's a light sauce though, not very acidic so no worries about acid reflux even if you eat a bit of a late dinner.

If you are a pasta lover like me, and you want to eat a bit lighter, I highly recommend this meal. We have even started modifying this recipe from time to time by adding meat or using ravioli or both. Very nice and very versatile.

Mangia!!

Pasta Pomodoro

  • 2 packages(8 oz) angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups Roma (plum) tomatoes diced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can low sodium chicken broth
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • fresh black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente and drain.
  2. Pour olive oil in a large sauce pan over high heat. Saute onions and garlic until clear. Reduce heat to medium-high and add tomatoes, vinegar and chicken broth, simmer for 8 minutes or until sauce thickens.
  3. Stir in red pepper, black pepper, basil and cooked pasta making sure to toss thoroughly. Simmer for about 5 more minutes and serve. Top with grated cheese to taste.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thai for dinner

It's finally warming up again. I know compared to most of the country it never got cold, but for this area the last few days have been pretty chilly. Today the turnaround began. Unfortunately, the turnaround is bringing in some rain, but the area really needs it. The last few months have been well below the average precipitation.

We have a few neighbors who we thought were real live Cowboys. As it turns out, none of them are original to the area. Two are from the northeast (NY) and one is from Georgia. If you saw these guys running around the park in their four wheel utility vehicles, all dressed in full cowboy regalia, you would swear the rodeo was in town. After talking to them for a while, we found they all realized that they had always really wanted to be cowboys, but living in the parts of the country they did, they just never had the opportunity to go full boat so to speak. Now that they are down here they are making up for lost time.

I have to say, I feel a lot like they do. I've always romanticized about being a cowboy in the old west. Sleeping out under the stars... Riding around on horseback, out on the open canyon lands... Now I'm really looking forward to getting to live out some of that fantasy! Only I'll probably swap my motorcycle for the horse, and instead of sleeping under the stars, I'll be in my rig on my memory foam mattress! lol

Tonight for dinner Nancy again called on the kitchens of Annie Chun's to bring us a wonderful Thai Basil Chicken over sticky rice. I have to say, I was a bit apprehensive when I saw exactly how much basil went into this meal, but the flavor.... the aroma.... mmmmm.... so nice!

We have, so far, been very pleased with all the Annie Chun's items we have sampled. I really look forward to the next opportunity we have to sample another.

Thai Basil Chicken Over Rice

  1. Heat oil in pan. 
  2. Add garlic, chili sauce and chicken and stir fry until the chicken is cooked. 
  3. Stir in Annie Chun's Pad Thai Sauce
  4. Add green beans, broccoli slaw, scallions and basil and mix until heated through. 
  5. Serve over Annie Chun's Sticky White Rice. 

What's for lunch?

Why BBQ Pulled Pork of course!!! It was just as tasty today as it was yesterday!

I figured I would take this opportunity to post a few picks of our rig so that folks reading have an idea of what life is like inside with our whole menagerie.
This is our entire convoy parked at the Trinity Site. The trailer is a "Tandem Tow" Dolly, it's designed to have a space in front of the car dolly portion to tow a motorcycle. On the dolly I have my Honda VTX and my wife's Honda Fit. We also have a Yakima bicycle rack attached with a hitch splitter that carries our two Electra beach cruiser bikes. 
This is our bedroom. We just recently added a 12" memory foam mattress. It was an excellent addition.
 (especially since we have to share the bed with Leia and usually at least 1 kitty)

The back end of our rig with the slides out. Inside those louvers is where that big Cat diesel resides.

This is our dinette and our power reclining sofa. I had forgotten how nice it looks (we normally cover it with a bedspread to keep the dogs from messing it up). lol

This is a shot of our armoire in our bedroom. The entire bedroom slide is devoted to it. It actually gives us too much room for clothes.

This shot is of our primary living space. The desk in the lower left corner was custom added. It works perfectly for Nancy to use for all her internet activity. It has the largest window in the coach (besides the windshield) right in front of it so she has a nice view of the outdoors while browsing on her twenty inch flat screen monitor. (if your ever wondering why the formatting is off on this blog, I only have a tiny netbook to work with. Love you sweetie!)

The rig is powered by a Caterpillar diesel engine with an Allison six speed on a Freightliner chassis. It has air ride suspension, air brakes, air horns and an electronic engine brake. On the roof we have 3 BP 90 watt solar panels and one 20 watt trickle charge solar panels. The chassis has two full size lead acid batteries and the house has four. The rig also has a 7200 watt diesel generator by Onan and a 3000 watt inverter charger. It can carry 89 gallons of fresh water, 48 gallons of gray water and 46 gallons of black water as well as 100 gallons of diesel fuel. It makes for a nice comfy self contained home on the road.

Skipping Breakfast Again



This is Luke, our big male greyhound, Luke, is an epileptic. We have pretty good luck regulating his seizures with phenobarbital. He takes 1 1/2 grains twice daily, and at that dosage he only has a seizure about once every 6-7 weeks (which is considered "under control"). Last night was 7 weeks since his last seizure.

I was sitting at the dinette enjoying some blogs of fellow RV'ers when I started to sense that Luke was about to seize.

Luke has a bed on the floor right next to the dinette where he likes to snooze. The position of his bed makes it really easy for him to keep an eye on everyone in the rig, and if I'm at the dinette I have to step over him to get out. This means even if he is asleep, he'll wake up when I leave and know I'm on the move.

Luke lifted his head fairly suddenly, and looked around the room as if he just heard a loud noise. I knew right then he was about to seize so I leaned over to him and placed my right hand behind his head and slid him away from the walls and further onto the center of his bed with my left. Perfect timing! Just as I got him nice and centered the seizure began. Nancy came over and comforted him by stroking his ears (making sure to keep away from his now snapping jaws) and telling him "it's OK. you're alright" in a soothing voice. I did the same and held his head in place to keep him from banging it around.

His seizures only last about 30 seconds to a minute for the seizure itself (ictus state) with the current dose of phenobarbital. The postictal state however can last for several minutes and even once he snaps out of it he will still have some confusion. Usually during this confused state he will forget how to do stairs leaving me to carry his 85 pound butt in and out of the rig (not and easy feet with a dog as long as he is).

All I can say is thank goodness for the outdoor showers found on many rigs! It makes post seizure cleanup of a dog his size so much easier. Simply bring out a bottle of doggie shampoo set the water temp and scrub away. So there we were outside at 10:30pm playing in the water of our outdoor shower. It's actually better than what I used to have to do when we lived in our old house. There we had large showers and a two person hot tub in our bathrooms. We only had one normal tub and it had sliding glass doors on it. This meant that to bathe the big fella I had to bathe with him in the normal tub. I guess it's a bonding experience! lol

This is Luke and Leia together. Luke is the big loveable doofus on the right and Leia is the smaller, prettier curious looking gal on the left. They're pretty dang cute ain't they?

Anyway, no breakfast for me again today. I went with just a cup of coffee. One thing Nancy would not part with when we moved out of our old house was her coffee maker. It's a bit big for the rig but if she is willing to give up that counter space to keep it I'll sacrifice and drink the coffee it makes ;-).