Monday, April 23, 2012

Things We’ve Learned… Take 3

1. Darlene can not turn a corner, eat a banana and honk because she loves liberty all at the same time.

2. Hard water build up on your stainless steel pots got you down?  Don’t scrub.  Just cook something with a tomato base like tomato soup or baked beans.  Wipe clean and enjoy the shine.

3. With a little ingenuity and some spare time, you can experience Vegas on a tight budget.

4. Don’t lick rocks in the desert.  You could catch Valley Fever. (Rock-hound Friend – Dale)

5. And, on that same note, Nicole learned that if you are going to spit on the rock (so that you don’t have to lick it) keep an eye on which way the wind is blowing. 

6. The giant silkworm family of moths did all of their eating as caterpillars because once they become a moth they have no mouth.

7. Condors will eat and try to digest trash and will feed it to their young.  Pick up after yourselves!

8. Food just tastes better when it’s cooked and eaten in the van or outside.

9. Want to see Nicole stare blankly into space.  Ask her to play the game Headbandz.  Definitely not her cup of tea.

10. Keep your eyes on the road, the trail or whatever you are walking on.  Not because you might trip but because you might be handsomely rewarded.2012-03-29 Beaver Dam Wilderness, AZ Virgin River Park (32)2012-03-29 Beaver Dam Wilderness, AZ Virgin River Park (32)
Oh yes, that’s a fiver right there under the cattle guard!  Prior to this, our biggest score on one hike was $1.86 in change.  We were pretty sure we couldn’t top $5 in one walk.  We did managed to tie it the next day though.  Yup, under the same cattle guard there lay another five spotted from a different angle.  Not sure how we’ll top $10 in two days but you can bet we are going to keep looking down.

11.  Darlene would rather be poor than sell lizards on the black market.

12.  The National Park Annual Pass for $80 is a great deal if you enjoy exploring such things.  Even in casual travel over the course of a year it will more than pay for itself several times over.

13.  Emergency Food!  It’s not just for emergencies anymore.IMG_2039 IMG_2044
This stuff is awesome.  We’ve purchased the eggs and a veggie soup base.  Pretty sure only a McDonalds hamburger can beat their opened shelf life of one year.  The flavors have been a pleasant surprise too.  Once they are ‘brought back to life’ you’d think you chopped the veggies or cracked the eggs fresh that morning.

14.  When living the way that we do, friends are not just people you rely on; they are objects too.  Objects that make themselves indispensible for frugal, practical or both reasons.  Take the following: IMG_2232

IMG_2236IMG_2235IMG_2238 A) Baking Soda – An excellent way to keep greasy residue out of your tanks.  Rub a small amount around your pot or pan (stainless steel, of course) to soak up buttery, oily or other similar residue.  Then spray a bit of vinegar and water mixture.  Let it fizzle for a bit.  Wipe it all away with a paper towel and have a happy day.  You can also reuse the same baking soda several times.

B) Non-Slip Matting – Great for being able to leave things on your countertops or to keep hanging things from swinging around so much while driving.  In our case, it also keeps our not yet screwed into place countertops from sliding off their base.   

C) The Mini O2 Cool USB Fan – This little guy was a great find at Wally World.  About $10.  He runs on a USB port which pulls less amps.  We compared him to two other 110v fans that pulled more power and he won out for quiet, compact size, air output and the cool USB feature (which also comes with 110 adapter).  There’s a USB outlet on our inverter so it’s handy for us.  The fan is actually advertised as being run while plugged into your computer which is pretty neat too.

D) Yes, that’s a Towel – The common dishtowel takes on a second use as a stove quieter while driving.  Man that rattle can get to a person!  Now, we just tuck the towel inside, lock it up and it stays quiet as a mouse on those washboard roads.

15. There is an additional tax on gasoline (and maybe other stuff, we didn’t try to find out) within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation.

16. Elevation.  Elevation.  Elevation.  Weather is elevation dependent.  Seems obvious enough if you hail from a state that has a lot of… um… elevation.  Nicole… Florida.  Darlene… Georgia.  We have learned not just to check the weather in a particular city near where we are going but to also consider the actual elevation of where we are going.  It was worth it though to see the desert covered in snow.

17. Our friend, Dale, can take a fifth wheel places most people wouldn’t take a car!

18.  The money found on a hike theory has now been expanded to … ‘If we find money as soon as we arrive at a new site, it’s got to be a good one!’  Fifteen minutes after arriving at our latest site, Nicole dug two shinny coins out of the mud.  .35 cent score and we haven’t event taken a walk or a hike.