To Blog or Not To Blog?

The blogging world is still relatively new to me.  I read a blog one year ago, Casita Escapes, and found the power of an immediate connection with someone far away, a person that I knew our paths would cross.  Then the winter trip to Arizona became a reality and I needed a way to communicate our travels with loved ones and stay off of Facebook (for security reasons).

The writing and posting pictures was such a pleasure when I could do it.  We kept finding ourselves in remote areas without internet and cell connections.  I never learned how to write off line, so the posts were few and far between.

Then it was over and we were back to ordinary life....life in between trips.  We left again in April and June but the July trek to the mountains motivated me to write again.  (Maybe it was the misery?) By adding Casita in the Mountains to Casita in the Desert, I was able to use the same URL.

Now I am reading other blogs, trying to learn how to do what others do.  A how-to blog disturbed me by stating that one should know what they are going to write about before they begin.  Don't know about that!  I don't know what I am about to say.  That is one of the reasons I write, to know what I am thinking!

It's early morning and a full day stretches in front of us.  The window installer should appear at the duplex this morning and I must impress on him that we are LEAVING town and he MUST get through this week.  Everything else is just about finished and we will lock up, leave, and worry about renting the place when we return.

Casita Enterprises came through and our new front door locks were waiting on the porch yesterday. It looks like they will fit with some minor adjustments. I like the idea of being able to lock the door from the inside.

No brake adjustments were needed according to our Trucks and Trailer.  So with the new locks and the new tires, all we need to do is start packing.  Heading west!


From Backpacker to Casita Owner

I am almost finished reading Cheryl Strayed's Wild  (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail), a marvelous bestseller about a young women who hiked this 2,000 mile plus trail.  Cheryl writes in real terms about her inner struggles that motivated the journey.

This book in conjunction with the most recent Tiny Camper blog, http://tinycamper.wordpress.com, which discusses her lost love of backpacking; these two items have started me thinking about Casita owners.

I can say that I was a backpacker and remember what it was like to fix a one pot meal over a tiny camp stove after shouldering a heavy pack uphill all day.  I did do it!  Maybe 5 times!  I am glad that I'm pass the age to do this as it was much more pain than pleasure for me.  But I treasured the woods, the magic of the night and feeling a part of it all.  But I was also terrified of bears.

Many of the Casita owners that I have met are the outdoorsy, hiking, kayaking, backpacking kind of people who have just gotten older.  We still believe in all of the things that made us conservationists and many of us are boomers, remembering the first Earth Day!  It seems that just a certain type of person is attracted to the small fiberglass trailer.  There are a few that buy Casitas just for the fuel economy, but doesn't that play back into conserving our resources?

Backpacking skills and Casita living go hand in hand.  My husband and I try to not add anything to the trailer and eliminate unused items.  (But it was hard to do this during the RV show at Quartzsite. I admit to now owning two Kokopelli patio mats!)  We aren't extreme, I don't think, we just try to cut down on extra stuff.  Just like we do at home.

Speaking of home, does anyone live differently at home after spending long periods of time in the Casita?  I find myself turning off the water faucet faster, noticing all the unused plates and plastic containers and wondering when am I going to simplify my kitchen?

I hope this was not boring.  I am still learning this blogging thing and always feel like I need to be sharing some wonderful travel adventure.  We are taking off soon, got new tires yesterday and brakes are on the schedule for next week.  The Casita's front door handle broke this morning; we took it off and tried to fix it.  It was rusty and a little piece of wire fell out of it, so I called Casita and ordered another one.  Hope we can get it on and make it work!

About this blog, I think the follow me thing is working, but some fix-your-blog site says my RSS is not working, not exactly sure what that means?  But I googled "casita in the desert" and it came up on the first page for google searches.  Last winter when I started this I searched about 30 pages and never found it!  Progress, I guess!


Working hard and Remembering

It's a quiet Sunday afternoon and I am wondering, as frequently I do, what is the best use of my time.  My brain has been on overload for the past 3 weeks due to the stress of redoing a 44 year old rental duplex, a place near to my heart!  Windows and countertops have been ordered and we have cleaning and scrubbing and painting for weeks. I awaken in the middle of the night thinking of all the undone chores.  It's calling me right now, saying you have much more to do!

But it is now less than 2 weeks before we are to head out on our next trip.  And the Chatta-Egg will need attention before she goes on display with the other eggs that will be present in Kansas.  Tomorrow, first thing, I am going to go to my tire store and give them a list of acceptable trailer tires.  It bothered me that they had never heard of the Hercules tires that have been so good but now need replacing.  I am thinking that they know auto tires, not trailer tires.

Maybe I should explain why the duplex is so special.  It is on a mountain and in a river gorge and it was my home for 12 years before we married; possibly our home again some day in the near future.  It would be a perfect place to park the Casita in between all the trips we could take!

We have often thought of selling our place and full timing, especially after returning from long trips.  But, living in the beautiful area that we do, there is no need to stay away permanently.  We just need to be gone in the summer and winter.

Reading blogs has been my escape recently.  RV Sue and Crew, (www.rvsueandcrew.com) especially, and after she mentioned that it was her one year anniversary, it motivated me to go back and see where she was last winter when we were in Arizona.  She was in Ajo, many miles from Tortilla Flatt, but the desert looked the same. Beautiful!  It made me so homesick to look at her pictures.  Our winter trip to AZ was the biggest adventure of our life together, except for getting married!

view on the Apache Trail

I miss the desert. (But not in the summer!)

PS I have not figured out how to get the follow me button to work. Gave it my best shot today.  Will try again soon!


Tires and brakes

My head is reeling from google searches and way too much information!  My husband says we need to get new tires for our 16' Casita or at least ask someone else (not a tire dealer) if we need new tires.  I am armed with tire info from Trailer Life magazine, the casita forums and
www.lovemycasita.com as I hunker down in the driveway looking for the tire birthdate.  Surely this is not it?

Yes, this means that these tires were "born" on the 52nd week of 2007.  So what does that mean to us?

The tires look good to my uninformed eye.  There is good tread and no evidence of cracking on the sides but we know that we have owned this 2002 trailer for two years and it has been on two big trips.  One to the top of Maine from Tennessee and another trip to Arizona and back, possibly 8,000 to 10,000 total miles.  This is not counting many weekend escapes and our annual July excursion to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We have no idea how many miles were put on the tires by the previous owners, but 2007 sounds like a long time ago and I am pretty sure they are going to get replaced before our next long trip.

Note for the future.  We need to do a better job of keeping up with the miles traveled, work completed and recommendations for work to be done in the future.

We were told last winter that our trailer brakes would need work in about a year.  I have no idea what that means but a trip to our local Trucks and Trailers is needed.

Our little baby is sitting patiently in the back drive waiting for her next adventure.  We have named her the Chatta-Egg to reflect our pride in Chattanooga's renaissance.  She is enduring a cover I found discarded in a rainstorm on the parkway.  Someday, after a polyglow redo, we will invest in a real cover.

Hold on, little Chatta-Egg, your mom and dad plan to take you out soon!


Camping with Cats!

We are at home, not camping, and it feels strange to write without the great outdoors all around me.  Now that this blog is getting more traffic, I am more motivated to post.

This last adventure on the Blue Ridge Parkway was the longest trip with the cats.  I had complained to my friend, Glenda, (www.casitaescapes.blogspot.com) that my cats had been totally freaked on the last trip.  She suggested that they just needed more time to adjust to the trailer than short weekend trips.

She was right and they did adjust.  They ate and slept like they were home.  But I did not adjust!  In fact I got worse as the trip progressed.

My two major complaints were putting up with the kitty litter box and my constant fear of losing them.

We chose to place the cat commode in the bathroom.  Logical, yes.  The last trip we tried a smaller kitty litter box.  Small trailer (remember we are in a 16' Casita);  I thought the cats would adjust. This did not work.  Sheba, the Siamese, was just too big to be able to complete her toiletry in her fastidious manner.  So we took the regular size kitty box and left it in the bathroom at night.  This resulted in kitty litter sticking to the bottom of my feet when I got up in the middle of the night.  I started wearing my crocs into the toilet!

The cat litter seemed to scatter everywhere!  I know I cleaned three times more than usual, sweeping and shaking the rugs (and the comforter and the sheets.)

We took halters and leashes for both cats.  They kept the halters on all day but, feeling sorry for them, we took them off at night after the door was locked.  They hated the halters and tried to chew them off.
We also took a very large wire cage as I thought that they would enjoy being out of the trailer for a while each day.

They hated the cage!  They hated being outside!  And Sheba pulled out of her halter one time while out, running completely free.  Thankfully, she ran toward the trailer door and we obligingly opened it.

We have met many other campers who were successfully camping with their cats. Several years ago we met the authors of "On Burroed Time" and learned how they had traveled all over this country with their fur babies in a tiny camper.  They were so careful and the cats even had long leashes on while they were inside.  But, according to their blog, one still escaped!

Every time we started to enter the trailer, we had to locate the cats for fear they would jump out the door.  (Our Casita has no screen door.)  And every time I left the trailer, I would wonder if I had shut the door securely.  Often I would be visiting on the far end of the campground and would begin worrying about the door.

We have seen so many "lost cat" posters at the rest areas and in the campgrounds.  It breaks my heart!