Tag Archive: Gearing Up

Soon, very soon

So much to do, getting ready is helping me after this long year after Jolyon’s death and Forrest and Dale and all the other deaths and people who have left my life (this is closer to the last 7 or 8 years.) I’m pushing hard with a long long to do list and everything’s falling into place!

All the RV needed was a new engine battery and some minor adjustments. Have decided not to get new tires as the Open Country Toyo’s have 50% tread wear remaining. Rotating has helped the tire cupping likely caused by the wrong shocks that Ian’s Tire installed. I seem to be in the minority in not liking these tires, I’m sticking to my dislike but also sticking to my budget! I’d recommend if you need shocks for a Van based Class B motorhome you spend the extra for Bilstein, not sure why these are on closeout as I haven’t researched them… maybe newer ones are available, maybe these aren’t the right size?

My to do list:

  • Trip check for RV: Done
  • Taxes: Done
  • Eye Exam: Done, YEAH no problems found after all other than aging and sensitive eyes. So relieved.
  • Make Bug Curtains: Not yet, but I have the material
  • Teeth: Have decided to wait until summer
  • Book Denali: Long story but not pre-booking
  • Costco Card: This is now in my name; sorry everyone who Jolyon had on his plan, it’s just me now.
  • Bed for RV for my travel companion: After struggling with this I decided on a Kamp Rite Insect Protection System Tent and a beautiful Nemo, Cosmo Air Pad: this will work for the floor in the RV with a thin memory foam pad folded over for the lower  portion of the floor to make it even. If you have this rig you know what I’m talking about and outside in appropriate locations. Done
  • Prepare Press Release and Flyer for the Summerfest Ventura AKC Cluster Dog Show…  July 4th weekend. Done
  • Write dog sheet info for my amazing friend who is boldly taking on all 4 of my dogs, plus her 2 while I’m gone. Done
  • Groom All Dogs: Will be done: Not Yet
  • Get all dogs up to date on shots, meds, etc etc.: In Progress
  • Oil Change for the Camry: Done
  • Little Rug for the RV: Done
  • Frig Fan: Done
  • Hair Cut: Done
  • New Camera: Yeah!!!!  A Sony A6000 with the 2 kit lenses!!!! Done
  • Ear Cleaning:  Soon
  • Clothes: Working on it….  trying mail order, LOL.
  • Shoes: Same as above
  • Clean RV: In progress
  • Renew Camping Cards…  Passport America and Good Sam …  these Good Sam guys do way too much advertising and trying to push other services…  I wouldn’t trust much of what they offer, but the membership is easily made up as so many RV Parks offer their discount. Have decided none of the other “camping RV” cards are worth the price; they may be if you intend to stay in one spot for a long time as a base camp, but not for me. Done
  • I may also do Harvest Host
  • Call Verizon re service in Canada:  Done $15 per month will do it. using phone as mobile hotspot has  become expensive so am thinking about it. Not expecting much coverage in Canada.  At some point I’ll consider a cell phone antenna booster.
  • Insurance card for Canada: Done at AAA office
  • Stock Supplies:  In progress
  • Update GPS: Not yet, hope I can find the right cord
  • Chains: Not Yet
  • Binoculars: Done, am borrowing
  • Solve problem of phone not fully charging and battery fast drain on my Samsung Note 2:  No, and no clue yet…  in other words everything I’ve tried so far has not worked. Could this be a faulty / intermittent charging port on the phone?
  • Music; Partially Done.  I downloaded and paid for PowerAmp for my Android. I like it! Big problem is the battery drain trouble above.
  • Audio Books and other audio files: Not yet
  • Did I mention Shoes:  Trouble finding what I want in the size that fits and that does not hurt my feet. Sigh… need an entire entry just on shoes.
  • Get stuff ready like … laptop, learn new stuff for new camera…  photoshop, etc. Discover I will need to purchase a new laptop to keep up with my new camera…  sigh. In Progress
  • Shopping…  oh there’s always shopping
  • Pack RV:  Not Yet
  • Explain this all to the dogs. Hmmmm ….
  • Kiss all my dogs over and over and tell them to be good and to enjoy their upcoming vacation too: Ongoing
  • Oh yeah, and have fun and take good pictures and enjoy trip: Upcoming

Here’s a Nova video on Dinosaurs in Denali  It’s  about an hour long. Did you know there were dinosaurs tromping across Alaska? Makes sense to me, maybe Forrest and I speculated this back when we were enrolled in Earth System Sciences at UCSB. Only 2 states Forrest didn’t travel to, Hawaii and Alaska;  I will make a sign for the Signpost Forest at Watson Lake and include your name on it my love.

Just How Big Is Alaska

Just How Big Is Alaska

At Last

Am tired so here’s a quick list of LT updates…leaving in the morning… 1st stop Great Uncle Norman…then the Sierras!


  • Business Cards to give folks on the road
  • Folding Rake …. Many campgrounds have stickers….  Not good for the dogs
  • Camp Shovel
  • Camp Ax
  • Grill
  • Fire Starter blocks
  • Skewer thingy for marshmallows …maybe roasted bananas?
  • Tablecloth holders… they keep the tablecloth from blowing away
  • Camp lantern
  • Outdoor mat Outdoor clean your feet rug for RV door
  • Mosquito netting for doors
  • Outdoor attachable table
  • Outdoor folding table
  • Lots of shorts and cool tops
  • Extra towels
  • ….  See a theme here! Last year outdoor living was severely limited
  • New campground memberships
  • Sewer fixed
  • City water fixed
  • TV cable fixed
  • Toolkit!!!  Thank you Frans!
  • Solar insulation…floors, windows, windshield and cabinets … double as blackouts for obnoxious Campground lights.
  • The rear view Clover camera and monitor
  • A GoPro video camera
  • Cassette adapter for my cell phone to play out the car radio…  my old cell phone
  • A mount for my Garmin GPS… also the old one… should probably update it.
  • An atlas
  • Folders for maps and stuff
  • Better cook pots
  • New floor rugs
  • New color scheme…  blue, pink and brown
  • Waterbed for Olympia….in her crate
  • Better leashes for the dogs… they can be easily hooked to objects
  • Beautiful collars with names and address on buckle …no dangling tags
  • Reflective collars for night-time
  • Padded interiors for doggy comfort
  • Additional mirror so I can see entire inside of van while facing forward
  • ……  okay I’m taking a nap                                      Jamie Rosenthal

I’ve been busy working on the LT so I’ll try to post some of what I’ve been doing and researching starting with some little bugaboo RV traveling issues, like how to keep bugs and bees and mosquitoes from getting inside.

It’s nice to have the doors and windows open for the delicious cool afternoon air and the appearance of the evening stars. So, in an effort to enjoy more and not resort to a tightly contained box, I thought of screens. For example there are these nifty Magic Mesh Instant Screen Doors,  but like many Seen On TV products these received poor reviews. This is moot point, as the size offered will not cover the LT’s side doors or the rear door. . .too long and nowhere near wide enough. There are other companies that make similar products with better ratings but the size is an issue; they are made for house doors, not van doors.

I found these interesting things: Skeenz.  it’s unclear from the photo and description if the doorway and hatchway are covered, but I assume they are, and if so, then how do people and dogs move through them? The front window screens can be applied over the windows if I first remove the rain vents. . . a bit labor intensive putting the screens on, taking the vents off and then reversing before driving. Too pricey both in time and money for my needs but looked interesting.

Another take on side window cooling, letting the air in while keeping the LT locked, I discovered BreezeGuard metal screens for car windows, These don’t offer solar protection or bug protection but I like the way they fit. Now if they just made them with a small mesh to keep bugs out in a solar reflective material they’d be perfect.

Custom decals would be fun for the rear window but it doesn’t look as if they offer any solar cooling … too bad.

Back to the side windows I spotted these: Solar Auto Vents  Reviews not promising, really would be nicer to find a Solar Fan that would fit in the van side window.

Another approach, sans screens, to repel bugs, mosquitos, yellowjackets (which I’m sensitive to) check this link!  Listerine in a spray bottle applied to the doorways and such! I will definitely try and report along with my results with stuffing sheets of Bounce into the LT’s crooks and crannies; hey, maybe I can color them and hang them like silkscreen flags around the doorways and windows!

Found a suggestion utilizing brown paper bags inflated with air (like a balloon,) tied off and hung to resemble bee’s nests. The idea being that bees won’t trespass another’s territory. I’ll be trying!

Humm. . . another tidbit touts zinc and coconut oil to keep bugs away. Or coconut soap and skin cream with citrus…  not sure about these, I think someone is vying for soft skin. I tired grapefruit peel rubbings last year, no effect, even the promising non-toxic keep away bug spray did nothing, ‘cebt the bees loved it.

Think I will rig a hanger over the door and drape mosquito netting as a curtain. . . . might help. Maybe there are certain colors of light that do not attract bugs?

These are nice slide blocker screens for outside . . . if I ever acquire an awning to attach it to, I’d try it.  I can toss my ripstop parachute sheet over it at night to block offending park lights and enjoy a bit of shade by day.

This stuff looks super useful: aluminized Mylar shade cloth.  Wonder how fast they ship?

Ah! the Burning Man crowd for nifty ideas!!!  Dig the bike rack and cargo shelf (am still weighing the pros and cons of a bicycle, electric or not, with carriage for the dogs….  Bulky to carry around if I don’t use it much.) Love the amino box for stowing messy hoses… of course the LT has a ladder in that location.

Some Completed Additions: now have a velour fitted dash cover, Love it! A Clover Electronics rear view camera and 7” monitor… love this too. It’s clear and bright and I can see to back up and park! I installed thermorelfective carpet padding under the carpet area where Mason sleeps, it keeps the floor cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I ordered too much so I installed pieces in the closet and under the driver’s seat where Olympia likes to curl up. . .then I cut the padding to create half-way-up from the bottom of the window, solar blockers for the rear side windows. I can easily slide them out and stow them in the overhead cabinets. They block heat, nighttime lights and obtrusive views from neighbors while allowing me to see the sky and the stars. I bought a Silver Weatherbuster  from Advantage Truck Accessories pre-cut to fit the windshield, of course it doesn’t fit but it’s close so I’ll make it work.

Stuff Still In Progress: Ordered two reflective collars for the dogs from Gun Dog Supplies. . .very inexpensive and they come with name tags. These are heavy duty so will save them for night walks. Lusted for two of these attractive glowing collars, but I balked at the price and having to change the batteries. The comfort halter I carefully measured for Mason arrived today . . . doesn’t fit.

Thought I’d finally found shoes for Mason. His little feet are a challenge. A few days later received a message, the perfect shoes were sold out…..bummer so I ordered some cute sandals from another company — they didn’t fit. If I return them I incur a 15% stocking fee plus the cost of sending them back. I’m not happy….. I can exchange them without the 15% and may do so, but the better shoes, Neo Paws, are sized differently and Mason is in-between two sizes on his front feet. . . and they cost three times as much. Okay, did someone say carrying Mason over rough patches and hot pavement is a good way to build nice strong arms?

Olympia’s gear includes a Ruff Wear Swamp Cooler Dog Cooling Vest which I found on-sale from Altrec. RuffWear will be coming out next year with an updated model. The vest will keep her cool and give me piece of mind as she rolls in weeds and prickles… hope the vest can endure the treatment she’ll be giving it. ….  sure enough the first one I received was too small….  had to send it back at my expense and reorder the one that fits (sigh. . and that was after talking to the nice guy at RuffWear.)  Would have loved Ruff Wear’s vibram hiking dog shoes but was told they can’t make them small, so they won’t fit either of my dogs. BTW, an important note here: shoes should be only on your dog as needed, then taken off; a dog regulates temperature through their pads, a good fit is necessary for ease of getting them on and for their ability to stay on. Take a look at the bottoms too, many are slippery or simply not intended for outdoor use.

I have more. . but as per usual using WordPress from my home COX connection is slow, difficult and tedious. . . so more news on the way. . .later