Filling up

Whew.. busy day. Almost eleven o’clock (ten forty three) and I just pulled out my laptop a few minutes ago. It’s been a long and tiring day, yet a lot got done. Just not anything I planned on yesterday.

I woke up sore, very sore- sore enough that I had to take a muscle relaxer for the first time in weeks. Now, when I say I woke up that sore, remember I woke up on the ground (or just an inch or two off from it.) The first thing I have to do is stand up.. that requires legs. I suppose I’m more than used to this though, yet this morning was bad. My leg was just along for the ride, my brain refusing to assign it any duty that would take weight.

Maybe it’s kind of odd or maybe it’s perfectly natural how easily my brain will shift my body and weight to the right, yet days like this, it’s back to how it was a year ago. Laying down flat in bed on my back, if I try to draw both legs up into a sit up position, my left leg can’t stay on the ground. Once I get into a standing position, my hip, knee and ankle only have two motions, both done in unison (on my command at least.) All in or all out, and with an elastic quickness in going between.

Up and out of the little tent (yet still inside the greater tarp tent) it was a cold morning, forty two degrees, and I was all out of propane. The last bit of it fizzled last night as the propane stove fought off the cold night air. I quickly did the morning chores and returned to my chair and became truly disappointed.  No propane meant no morning tea. I hadn’t thought of that specific consequence, only that I would need to get propane today before I cooked dinner tonight.

Oh well, on with the day, I stood to go out and do something (I had already fully opened the tarp tent door, no more step overs today,) yet quickly returned to my seat. My legs weren’t up for it. Oh well, I grabbed my laptop and surfed the net.. well, Facebook. Found a few interesting conversations on an off grid group and was able to comment to share some good information. Surprising, the original post ended up getting a few hundred likes, and my comment had over seventy.

A few minutes after my post, another user on the same forum sent me a follow up message to my comment with some questions. Over the day, it turned into a nice conversation about off grid lifestyles and etc. I don’t usually make that much time to play around on my laptop in the morning, yet it was nice to actually ‘meet’ someone new via Facebook, I suppose that is new for me. And it was a much better way to pass the time then just scrolling on that site.

I was staying productive though and building my list for going going in town: Amazon pickup, propane, pot, bread, and gas on my way home (and water on my way back past the established campground, which I ended up forgetting..) I was really kind of excited about this Amazon pickup.  Now I own two “Bread Buddies” (link below,) and I firmly believe that Blimey will no longer have the chance to get my bread… unless I chose to give him some. As marketing I think, they also talk up these as bread dispensers with the bread bag peeling away down the outside, and your next fresh slice waiting right at the top.

In addition I also received two collapsible water jugs, five point three gallons each. With the seven gallon main jug I use, two one gallon jugs, and my half gallon drinking jug- I can now carry just over twenty gallons of water (twenty point one to be exact.) Which, I think will be a good amount. I think.

This is the part where it starts to get serious, to me at least.. or maybe it’s just in my mind. Once I drive twenty miles into a national forest I’ve got to be able to plan for the worst.  What happens if run out of food and water? Well, just jump in the car and go get more. What if my car dies? What if that first time I go to start it in two weeks and it just doesn’t start. Starter solenoid, something silly. A twenty dollar part available at Autozone twenty (or fifty) miles away.

Get to walking, only three days without water. How far could I walk in three days without water.  Here at the state park I’ve been refilling my jug when it’s empty, and the gallon jugs are empty.. and usually my drinking jug is empty. The last two times I went to get water I didn’t have a drop left in camp.  Good thing I have a guaranteed water source just a mile away here. If my car did die, I could walk back and forth to get two gallons into camp.

Three weeks without food. Okay, I’ve gone without a vehicle before – eighteen months without anything than my bicycle. Yet, that was in town. That was with a grocery store four blocks away. What would I do in the forest? Call a cab? Do they have uber out here? Pickup in the national forest. Ha.  Okay, my mind is going a little crazy with this.. yet, I don’t think I’m wrong to play through these scenarios. Maybe start making the habit of going for supplies when I still have a few days of water left, in case I have to walk to get more.

Let’s see after the amazon pickup, I looked next on my list: bread.  I wanted to fill my bread buddies. I still have four days of stew left, even another salad, thought the steaks were gone and I didn’t plan on shopping, I just didn’t want to come home with bread buddies and not have fresh bread to put in them. Yet, in my lack of planning this morning, one detail got skipped: lunch. At this point, I was hungry and was already looking around at all the fast food places I passed. I just had to get into the store, grab a few loaves of bread, and maybe grab a ready salad if I wanted to eat something before I got back to the site.

Easy plan, quick and easy even. An hour later I came out of Albertsons with one hundred and ninety dollars in food. I am still somewhat shocked, all good stuff- even a few new things to try.. single serving mashed potatoes (just add boiling water,) single serving potato salad and macaroni salad (like little pudding containers,) and thinking of my youngest son, some kielbasa and a box of macaroni and cheese. One of our favorite meals. Joking, I plan to let him know what I’m cooking and invite him for dinner.. or at least send him picture of it so he knows I was thinking about him.

Oh, out of the store another nice thrill. I walked to my car, opened the trunk and put the groceries in.  First time in three months that the car has been cleaned and empty when I went shopping. Only thing in the trunk was my skydive rig.. somethings just can’t get left out. Yet, here in the primitive area I feel pretty safe leaving essentially, every possession I own just laying here (mostly) under a tarp tent for hours at a time. So much nicer than trying to put the groceries into the back seat. It’s the little things.

Filled the gas tank and head back to camp, pulled up, realized I forgot to fill the water jug sitting next to me and immediately reversed out and went back up to the established campground to fill up. Ten minutes later I was back and unloading every thing as quickly as I could. With the shopping cart walking, my legs did stretch out well, yet the soreness was deepening into pain with every step. I had done enough, I wanted to sit down. Yet, it’s not quite that easy.

I did sit for a minute to smoke a bowl as I think I ran out of pot two days ago. A moment to relax, then up to patch the tarp tent. The four corners where the separate tarps come together are merely rolled tightly together then clamped with some four inch tarp clamps.  It roughly works, yet the wind is a constant stress on it. Rather than wait for a seam to blow once I was seated for the day, I tidied it up. Same for the rest of the evening chores, bring things inside that I would need for the night, a steak in from the fridge (and with sides tonight.)

I have everything set well before dusk and sat quietly for a while; actually I smoked a second bowl, then sat quietly. Wouldn’t you know, my visitor from yesterday came back. Now clearly identified on the Facebook Page as a Kangaroo Rat. And tonight he brought a friend. For about twenty minutes he would run around, and eventually was taking bits of walnut right from my finger tips. I tried putting a few pieces on my open palm and put my hand flat on the ground- thinking he would crawl over my hand to eat out of my palm. Yet, he seemed to be confused by my offering and tried to nibble on my fingertips instead. They’re said to not have the best eyesight.

Blimey came out for a while too, while the two Kangaroo Rats were around. He is so much faster than they are. He would run circles around them trying to scare them away- he was seriously trying to protect his territory! When I drove into town, I did notice the blimey box in the car had been used (all the nest stuffing I’d found I’d just loosely tossed into a small box, now it was matted down.) So I’m glad he won’t go to collect more material to build a second nest.

Also, mice don’t eat much and he’ll get plenty enough from me.. yet it is really dry out here. I put out a water dish inside the tarp tent and if he does keep sticking around I’ll pick up a regular pet water bottle and find a place/method to mount it in the blimey box.. or something. Can’t let the little guy be thirsty.

So another day down, and all other numbers are up.  Full tank of gas, full on food, water, pot and even the bread is now safe and protected. It’s time to finish up whatever I’m going to finish up at this stop and get on down the road.  Another day or two, then next month? New site.. in a forest. I’m exited for new scenery. I want to see trees and mountain tops- even snow, if from a distance.

Time to rest.


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