Hot Stuff, White Sands, Amazon Goodies, Turning Back the Sun

What a busy and exciting time the past few days have been! After dealing with the furnace issue yesterday morning, I drove to the town of Hatch, just a few miles up the road, to meet my brother-in-law David for breakfast. He lives in Alaska and is visiting friends in the area, so it was a real treat to meet up with him. David and I  had breakfast at a quaint little place called “Hot Stuff” that offered Mexican curios and food. David and I had a lovely visit then he headed north to Santa Fe to meet his friends. Thank you for breakfast David!

Hatch is renowned for its locally grown chile peppers! I poked around the town a bit and visited a few of the chile markets. At Grajeda Farms I met Sergio and purchased a Listra, a string of chiles. The chiles are strung this way so they will dry naturally and last for a very long time. My mother had one that she used for years, occasionally plucking peppers off and tossing them in a pot of beans!  Listra take the shape of a traditional long rope, circles similar to a wreath, or are sometimes fashioned into crosses. I enjoy seeing all the bright peppers hanging together!

I'm fairly close to the Mexican Border here so there are US Customs Checkpoints scattered around the landscape. I have passed through these checkpoints several times in recent days. There are cameras set up and as you approach, these cameras take photos of your license plate so the agents know all about you before you even get to the stop! At one stop, they asked if I was a US Citizen and then waved me on. At another, they just waved me without any questions. My Dad was a US Customs officer and two of my brothers as well. Thank you for your service!

 

Dexter was waiting for me back at Wild Thing and after packing a snack and water we headed down the road to see the White Sands National Monument. It was about an hour drive from the campground, up and over the mountains with breathtaking scenery. Once over the mountains, a vast expanse of the desert floor made it easy to see why missiles are tested here. We drove by the White Sands Missile Range and Museum but didn’t have time to stop on this trip. I’ll save that for when DH is with me!

The White Sands National Monument is a spectacular sight,. As we approached the area I could see white sand dunes with low vegetation very similar to the dunes I’d seen at Cape Cod, but there was no water in sight, this is the middle of the desert! In the Visitors Center I watched a short film and toured the exhibits before heading out to the dunes. A $5.00 fee bought me the 8-mile drive into the dunes area and the ticket is good for 6 days making it quite a bargain.  As we drove, the vegetation became more and more sparse and the dunes became larger and larger. Before long I felt like I had been transported to the Sahara! Dexter absolutely loved this place. He has always enjoyed the sand at the beach but was not thrilled with water, so this place was absolute heaven for him! He also seemed to just love the feel of the sand under his paws…and on his nose! I too thoroughly enjoyed this tour and hope to return again in the future.

On our drive back to the campground, I stopped in Las Cruces to pick up a package of trailer stuff I ordered from Amazon. My Escape Trailer Friends Charlie and Lucy gave me some great advice when I saw them last week. They recommended an electric heater that they use instead of the furnace when they have access to electric power, as a way to save propane. Charlie also told me about a wireless thermostat that makes regulating this little heater very accurate. I placed an order for these items as well as a new water hose and water filter that my friends and fellow Escape owners Fred and Dora recommended. The hose I’ve been using has been a real struggle to wind up if it’s at all cold, so I’m anxious to try this cloth hose. The water filter will help keep my fresh water holding tank clean. I also ordered a 30 amp power extension cord. I don’t want to get caught short again and have to re-hitch to reach the power source.  I placed the order on Amazon with a shipping address of a local UPS Store. The package arrived in just two days and the UPS store didn’t even charge me for the service. Nice!

Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat

Nashone Wireless Thermostat for Heater

Zero-G 5/8" Water Hose

Camco TastPure Water Filter

Camco 30 Amp Electric Extension Cord

This morning I tidied the camper and truck, then hitched up and moved to site 17…two sites down from where I was. It was worth it to be able to spend an additional night and enjoy the winter solstice program.  I'm going to stay hitched up tonight since I'm leaving tomorrow. This afternoon I enjoyed the “Turning Back the Sun” program sponsored by this state park. I ate buffalo stew (very yummy and spicy!) and pizza and bread baked in a Horno, a traditional adobe oven of the Pueblo People. I watched a presentation by Dr. Jawor about how animals adapt to the changing seasons and light and the Native Dances of the Pueblo People. I attended a presentation about the petroglyphs and the solstice, enjoyed traditional Navajo storytelling around the campfire, then gazed at the stars through powerful telescopes. It was a rich and rewarding day. I hope you enjoy the pictures and videos.  Tomorrow I will move on…somewhere down the road yet to be decided….

https://youtu.be/tjpgDuLgN98

https://youtu.be/putlXP27NNs

https://youtu.be/LV9zGvZxd5c

 

Wild Thing's Hope Chest

So what is in all those bins I'm bringing across the country? I started a "hope chest" shortly after ordering the trailer last November and have slowly been filling it with things for my tiny home. Do you remember hope chests? They were traditionally a large wooden chest used to gather special linens, clothing, and household items by young women in anticipation of future marriage. In the 1970's, my older sisters had cedar hope chests from the Lane Furniture Company and I although I was too young for one at the time, I  dreamed of someday filling my own.  By the time I was old enough to think about getting one we had moved to Texas and the tradition was lost. Although I used plastic bins instead of a cedar chest and I'm not anticipating a marriage, I do feel connected to the spirit of the old tradition as I gather supplies for my adventures in Wild Thing!

Here's some of what I've been packing:

 

I do love coffee, especially in the early morning around a campsite!  Since I plan to dry camp quite a bit, I wanted an option to make coffee without electricity.  I purchased this Bodum French Coffee Press and JavaPresse Manual Burr Coffee Grinder on Amazon.com.  I will easily be able to boil water on my propane stove or campfire when boondocking and grinding the beans just takes a few cranks on the grinder.

 

 

I've gathered supplies for the kitchen: Plates, Cups, Bowls, Silverware, Knives, Salt and Pepper Shakers, Storage Bowls, Napkins, Pot Holders (thank you sister Becky!), Clips, Can Opener, Peeler, Ice Cube Trays, Picnic Tablecloth and Clips, Wine Bottle Opener, Can Opener, Measuring Cups, Measuring Spoons, Placemats, Serving Spoons, Jar Opener.

I found much of what I needed for the kitchen at Home Goods. Their prices are great and they have a good selection of the basics. I found the dishes at Kohl's and the collapsible storage containers on our trip to Seattle earlier this year. I've been on the lookout for Wild Thing supplies for months!

Pots and Pans, Bakeware, a Tiny Trash Can, Oven Thermometer, Cheese Grater,

...and Shower Shoes (how did they end up in this picture??)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Saver Vacuum Sealer and Bags (Thank you for the idea Lucy!), Vegetable Steamer, Batteries, Broom and Dustpan, Shelf Liner, and two gizmos for the water connection: An elbow to make the hose connection to the trailer easier and a gadget called the Water Bandit that will help make a tight seal when connecting the fresh water hose to the source at the trailer park. I love inexpensive gadgets that make life easier!

 

 

My dear husband Steve gave me this sign for Wild Thing, what a guy! Dexter has been a big help with packing. He will be staying home with Steve while I make this first cross country trip to pick up the trailer. He thinks it's best for me to keep my focus on driving the trailer until I am proficient handling the new rig but he will stay busy while I'm gone packing his bags for the winter adventure!

 

 

Wild Thing will have a queen sized bed in the loft. I'm prepared with sheets, pillows, blankets, mattress pad and pillow protectors.  I'm working on a quilt for the bed but it will take a few months to complete. It will be a good project for the road.

 

 

 

Every adventurous girl needs her own tools...I've got a good basic kit ready to go as well as some specialty tools for the trailer. My DH also bought me this nifty air gun that is battery operated in case I need to add air to the tires on the fly! RV GPS, 4 way Leveler and Verizon Jet Pack (my own personal wifi router!)

 

I'm also bringing a propane grill. I chose the compact Weber Q1200 Portable Propane Grill (in red of course) and found it on sale at Camping World. It will run off the propane from the trailer using a quick connect hose attachment I'm having built in Wild Thing.

 

I'm also bringing a Samsung 24" Smart TV from Best Buy that Escape Trailer will install on a wall mounted arm in the loft. They are also installing a King Jack Anntena on the roof so I can pick up digital TV on the go. The girl has to keep up with her Outlander (swoon!).

 

 

 

I also purchased a 20" RTIC Cooler. This little cooler keeps ice for days! It will be perfect to store food for the trip to Chilliwack and then I will use it for day trips when I'm out adventuring! The price was much more reasonable than other coolers of the same type and it performs just as well.

 

Dexter loves my new camping chair from Kermit! It is sturdy and comfortable and made from beautiful hardwood and canvas. It is easy to break down and fits in a small storage bag when not in use. The little table is aluminum and very lightweight. It also folds for easy storage.

 

 

And speaking of storage, here are a few things I hope will help me stay organized in the trailer. Notice the stylish bags Steve got for Dexter's toys! Dexter will be traveling in style!

 

 

 

 

I'm bringing gadgets and gizmos and of course Duct Tape! Well, that's not everything, but it's a glimpse into what I have stuffed in the back of the truck!

 

 

 

I still need to add art supplies, photography equipment, snacks, a few books, and my computer.

Now I think you can see why this will be the "shake down" trip! I'm sure after spending a few weeks in the trailer working my way across the USA I'll figure out what I really don't need ...and what I have forgotten!

Only 3 days to go...I've got the truck mostly packed and just a few errands to run today... dental floss, batteries, a few more things from the art studio...