Monday, January 27, 2014

Giving Up On Snowshoeing

Progress is being made on the pile of boxes in the shed. Today it was time to decide what to do with the snowshoes or the gaiters or the shoe ice cleats.

The snowshoes were used twice in 12 years. The first time was while living in the trailer awaiting my house to sell in early 2001. The second usage was when I was in Palm Springs and there was fresh snow atop Mt. Jacinto. I took the tram to the top and walked on the snow with the snowshoes. After the walk on the snow, it was back to the valley floor where the temperature was in the mid 70s.

There was no justification for dragging that snow/ice stuff around except for the story value of snowshoeing atop Mt. Jacinto. That is now history. Time to sell. 

There probably is little demand for snowshoes in Tucson. Or so I thought. REI in Tucson stocks snowshoes.

Since I will not be making any long drives from Tucson to go snowshoeing, I will post that collection of snow/ice stuff for sale on Craigslist.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Change In Transportation

The trailer Wandrin Wagon is gone. There is a deposit to hold Silver Slug -- the 2000 Ford F-350 -- for about a month. When the buyer has the cash, Silver Slug will be gone.

Considering that there is a buyer for Silver Slug, it was time to start shopping for a car. Last Monday, after my usual huge salad lunch I headed out to the nearest Toyota dealer. With my Costco membership, once I had selected a vehicle the purchase price was based on the invoice price plus a percentage. No need to negotiate or haggle. By five that afternoon, I drove away with a 2013 Toyota Highlander.

Driving Oyster (my name for the car) is a really different experience compared to Silver Slug. The Highlander's V-6 is much quieter than the eight cylinder diesel in Silver Slug. Oyster is more responsive to acceleration. Also less weight to stop when braking.

As I turn the ignition in the Highlander, I am trying to break a habit formed with the Silver Slug where one waits for the glow plugs to warm up before starting the diesel engine. I don't need to wait for the Highlander gas engine. Might take a few more days to break that habit.

The change in transportation is wonderful.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Moving Stuff

Once I had become owner of Old Yeller, it was time to move my stuff from Wandrin Wagon. My plan was to take about a week to complete the move. Reality got in the way of the plan when a buyer for Wandrin Wagon called in the middle of the move on day one. And he wanted to take possession of the trailer that weekend.

Finding that unique individual purchasing my unusually designed trailer, I gave up on the week long move and three days later Wandrin Wagon stuff was transferred to Old Yeller -- and the shed. The shed was piled high with boxes of stuff. Much of that stuff hadn't seen light in years. Seems I didn't understand about the fuel costs of towing extra ballast.

In the days since last weekend, I have been tackling those boxes of stuff. My ancestry includes a long line of savers. Never know when you might need something. The process is not easy as I decide what to keep and what to donate or throw away. I'm hoping that I can make the task last at least a month. Knowing my approach to such a project, it will probably take less than two weeks.

The move is history. Now it is time to jettison stuff.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

HIking Habit

When I arrived in Tucson in mid-December, I decided that I would go for a hike every other day. It was a great plan. And it has worked with the exception of this past week when for three days I was moving stuff from Wandrin Wagon to Old Yeller. Moving boxes of stuff uses a whole different set of muscles compared to hiking.

Every week there is a hike with the park's hiking group. Most of my other hikes are solo hikes. The hikes have ranged from four to six miles. I'm working up my stamina for future longer hikes. It's been a couple of years since my last hike up Wasson Peak.

The hiking habit is a good thing.

Monday, January 13, 2014


It happened. That commitment was not to a state mental hospital. Although some of my fellow nomadic wanderers would think that I should be "committed" considering what I did. I bought a park model at Far Horizons. I committed to owning "sticks and bricks" and the responsibility for maintenance. My preference would be to call someone to take care of any issues.

When I arrived in Tucson a month ago, I began a search for an apartment. For an apartment to be attractive, it could not be a cave -- windows at one end. With those requirements soon I was looking at luxury (read expensive) apartments or condos.

While searching for that ideal apartment, I also looked at park models at Far Horizons. Park models don't share walls with the neighbors. After looking at several units and not falling in love with any of them, I raised the amount I was willing to spend. That was when I found Old Yeller.

The major factor in the deciding on a park model over the luxury apartment was an existing community.

So today, the check was written to make Old Yeller my home. Now comes the part that I really dread -- moving my stuff. I never enjoyed moving. Fortunately, there is no furniture to move, but there is a lot of stuff in this trailer. Some of that stuff has not seen light in years. With a storage shed on the lot, that is where the stuff will get stored. Out of sight. Out of mind. 

With 400 square feet, Old Yeller has twice the floor space as Wandrin Wagon. Twice the living space may be the only positive about this commitment.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

200 Square Feet

 My last home in Denver was just under a 1000 square feet.

Downsizing from that, my current home on wheels is 200 square feet. Essentially, it is a small studio apartment.

Kitchens in most homes are larger than my entire home.

Then there are homes of 10,000 square feet and larger with lots of bedrooms and an equal number of baths. That is according to Most Expensive Home For Sale In Your State. Some have acreage. Some are water front. Some properties include guest homes.

Connecticut has the oldest -- and the most expensive at $144,000,000 on the list -- built in 1898. With first floor stone walls and the craftsmanship of 100 years ago, that would be a home to admire.

Then there is the fixer-upper in New York at $130,000,000.

With a really big lottery win, I could consider some of the houses. It would have to be a big lottery win so there would be money left over to pay the annual upkeep, taxes and insurance. Of course a staff would be required to take care of the home. More complications.

No thank you. 200 square feet is just fine.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My Life Expectancy

As I was trying to make decisions about a Tucson area apartment or the purchase of a park model at Far Horizons RV park, I was curious what my life expectancy might be. After an internet search, I found an actuarial table at the Social Security site.

This actuarial table says that at the age of 73 I have an additional 12 years of living. With my very good health and taking no drugs, that is a very good possibility. However, there are no guarantees. There may be something lurking in this body waiting to kill me long before the 12 years have passed.

However, with an expected life to 85, the purchase of a park model would be okay. I could extrapolate/depreciate that purchase to zero over the next 12 years. Regardless of the time of my demise, disposing of the park model will be my children's problem.

Those actuarial tables are just statistics. This is me we are talking about. I'm different and will outlive the statistics. Maybe. With some longevity on my father's side, there may be a chance to make it past my mid 80s and into my early 90s.

When I get to those advanced ages, my only hope is that I am still walking and my brain is intact.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Consumer Electronics Show

Checking out a few of the headlines of products promoted at the CES in Las Vegas, I noted the featured promise of self navigating cars.
Self navigating cars seems like science fiction. In the real world of the 21st century, many of the consumer products are focused on leisure time -- entertainment. The expected new products were enhancements to TVs and sound systems: new; improved; bigger; clearer. However, I am pretty sure it is the same TV shows and 24 hour news frequently interrupted for commercial breaks. 

Beyond entertainment, there is more for the home**:

[Also featured are] kitchen products (coffeemakers, crock pots, refrigerators, dishwashers and microwave ovens) that can be turned on and off and adjusted via a smartphone or tablet. The idea is that you can be out doing errands and, for instance, turn on the stove to get the pot roast going before you get home.
That is just great, but what to do if the entree meat wasn't taken out of the freezer. How about a remote operated robot to retrieve, thaw and prepare my dinner. That would be something that would be worth boasting about and would definitely lead the products at a Consumer Electronic Show.

**Writing this blog post a day later after copying the quote, I have been unable to find the source for proper credit.