It’s been a quiet week. I took advantage of my time off work and everything shutting down for Christmas to just kick back and relax a bit, including not posting here as regularly. Don’t worry, I’m still alive and kicking.
I treated myself to a couple of small presents. I finally splurged for the LED light bar I’ve been wanting. I thought it would fit in the small bumper opening, but once I stuck it in there I realized there’s nothing to mount it to, and it would be much easier to stick it on top of the bumper instead. I also got a two-way switch for it that will let me turn it on, off, or have it switch on and off automatically with my high beams. That way I can run all my lights full blast on a dark desert highway, then instantly flip back to non-blinding low beam if a car comes the other way.
I also picked up a cheap magnetic mount ham radio antenna. It works perfectly, which is more than can be said for my previous one. I blame cheap CB parts for that. For now, I’ve bolted the steel lid from a can to the existing mount and stuck the antenna to that, with a little tape just to make sure it stays on. In the future, I’ll probably pick up an NMO mount and a taller antenna to do it properly. I can wait until Quartzfest to look for those.
I should also mention that my replacement WiFiRanger Spruce router has arrived and is working perfectly. I’ve even used it to set up a guest network for my camp since my FastNet data is truly unlimited and I’m getting more than I need for myself. I’m glad to have it again, and not have to mess with figuring out how to get each of my individual devices online.
I’ve been enjoying motorcycling in December, while my former home of New England has been frozen in carbonite like Han Solo. I even went for a ride on Christmas, something I’ve never done before. In addition to the Quartzsite trail book, I found some GPS tracks on a local Jeep club’s website and downloaded them to my Garmin. I find those easier to follow in real-time than having to stop and consult a book. Both are still useful, though.
I found an old ham radio I haven’t used in a long time, one for 144 and 220 MHz. That’s an unusual frequency combination since 220 isn’t very popular. It still works fine, though (unlike my 144/440 handheld that I dropped while packing up at Mount Washington), so I programmed all the local Quartzsite frequencies into it, and I’ve started carrying it in my top trunk. If I run into trouble on the trails and I’m out of phone service, chances are I can still squeeze out a call for help on the radio. It could also be fun to ride to the top of one of the local mountains and see how far I can make my signal go.
Last night I tested one of Allyson’s recipes for her van life cookbook, one she calls “Sumptuous Sausage and Pasta.” I’m terrible in a kitchen, and yet I managed to pull it off just fine following her instructions (mostly — I have a few suggestions). Since Allyson is used to cooking medieval feasts for large groups, it’s no surprise that her quantities were a little high, and I found myself with dinner for two when I intended it for one. So I gave Melinda the other half. She enjoyed it as well.
I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about next year, and my future in general. There are many thoughts, though, so I’ll save that for another post. For now, today’s true excitement will be laundry and a shower, which a place in town will enable me to do at the same time. Almost like this place is set up for van lifers…