Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the category “RV adventures”

Poopy Pants

Miss Sugar and I have been  camping.  We have not really been roughing it because we have a camper trailer.   It includes a bathroom.

Those of you familiar with the joys and responsibility of camping in an RV are aware of the need to visit a dump station at the conclusion of the camping experience.  Guess what is dumped at a dump station.

Yes.  You are correct that a dump station is where one dumps what went down the sink and toilet in the recreational vehicle.  There are two types of “water” — gray water and black water.  Gray water comes from a tank where the sink and shower water go.  The black water is exactly what you imagine, i.e., the contents of the tank filled with contents from the toilet, which is more than mere water.

Miss Sugar, my trusty trophy wife, is very knowledgeable about camping in general and the operation of the gray and black water release systems in particular.  As her able assistant, I use my own personal hand to open the pipe and the respective valves under the verbal direction of Miss Sugar.

For those of you interested in the details, please visualize that the dump station has a hole.  The camper has a pipe.  The pipe is connected to the hole by a wide collapsible and flexible hose known in the camping world as a “stinky slinky.”  In another blog post, I described our initial experience with such a device.

That post was posted years ago.  Today I am writing about an event that occurred this very day.

Today, after I attached the stinky slinky to the dump hole at one end and the trailer pipe/tube to the other end, opened the black valve, emptied it, then opened the gray water valve and emptied it (the order is important), Miss Sugar directed me to rinse out the stinky slinky by transferring the end of it attached to the now emptied trailer over to a water spigot so that it could be rinsed by that fresh water after the gray water.  Get the picture?

Sugar operated the handle of the water spigot as I obediently held the stinky slinky and moved it to a position under the faucet.  Blessed with excellent eye-hand coordination, I accomplished the task.  Sugar’s water flowed down the wide tube, cleansing the you-know-what down the tube.  When she said, “Okay,” I interpreted that to mean that I could remove the stinky slinky because she was shutting off the water.  I was wrong.

I moved the tube away from the spigot but Sugar did not turn off the water.  Consequently, as the tube moved, its contents back-splashed onto my pants.

Sugar thought it was funny.  She suggested that I write this post and is credited with the title.

Despite her instructions to me and direction of me, let’s be clear about who wears the pants in the family.  That would be me.  I wore those particular pants as I drove all the way home.



Town Tour

Small Wyoming town with no sidewalks nor stoplights

A three story mansion across the street from a mobile home

Propane tanks rather than gas lines from public utilities

A horse and two mules in one backyard

With a view of the tavern

One paved street

300 people

200 dogs

No zoning

Plenty of free parking



Customer Service?

Miss Sugar was appalled.  Appalled I say!  She was appalled to find “evidence” of mice in our RV camper trailer.  I was appalled too.  So we decided to do something about it.  We decided to go into town and get some new mouse traps and moth balls.  (Moth balls are allegedly unpleasant to mice).

So we went to town in the pickup truck so we could bring the dogs.  I parked in the lot of a well-known chain store.  It is a store that has many departments, including clothes, electronics, jewelry, housewares, furniture, toys, recreation equipment, groceries, pharmacy, office supplies, and a garden department.  I thought maybe it would have mouse traps and moth balls.

Sugar said that she would wait in the truck with the dogs since I only had to run in and get two items.  She also asked me to get some dog treats.  I forgot to say the store has a pet food department too.  I thought I could handle it.  I did not even need a written list.

I used my intuition to find an aisle that had pest control items.  On the shelves were some poisons, such as D-Con.  To me, the drawback with poison is that the victims crawl off somewhere to die — and stink.  I prefer swifter justice by the guillotine method.  However, I did not find any old-fashioned traps.

Neither could I locate mothballs.

Aware that Sugar and the dogs were waiting, I decided to abandon my wandering and actually ask for help.  I went to the customer service counter at the front of the store.  I had to wait in line while the customer service lady helped others.  Then it was my turn.

“May I help you?” she asked.

I said, “Yes, I hope so.  I could not find mouse traps or moth balls.”

“If we have mouse traps, they would be by the poisons, such as D-Con, in aisle 23.”

“Oh, well, I found the poisons but saw no traps.”

“If we have them, that is where they would be, so check on aisle 23.”

“I did, so does that mean you don’t have them?”

“We might be out.  You could go check.”

“But I already did.”

“Well, that is where they would be.  If we have any.”

“Okay, what about moth balls.”

“Let me call on that.”

She called someone back in whatever department the moth balls were supposed to be located.  There were two kinds of moth balls shown on her computer screen there at customer service.

The lady listened to her co-employee on the other end of the phone and reported back to me.

“She says moth balls should be on aisle 31.  She looked, but did not see any.  If we have any, they would be there.  So you could go to aisle 31 and look.”

“But the person you called told you she could not find them, and she works in the department, so why would I walk back there?”

“Well, if we have them, that is where they would be.”

“Since the lady you called, who works in that department, could not find them, I would be in way over my head, so I will leave now.”

“Is there anything else that I can help you with?”

I went out the door, muttering about “anything else.”

I returned to the truck without dog treats.

“Did you remember dog treats?” Sugar asked.

“I remembered, but did not want to go through check out just with dog treats since they did not have mouse traps or moth balls.  We have to go to another store anyway.”

We went to a farm and ranch supply store.  It had plenty of traps.  There were many choices.  I asked about moth balls.  The girl showed me where they should be, if they had any.

They did not.  At least I don’t have to wonder.

P.S.  This store had dog treats.  So I got traps and treats.

P.P.S.  Next we must hunt again for the elusive moth balls.  First one has to catch the moth, I suppose.  I will use my imagination about harvesting the balls.

Beau Helps Sugar

The Beau marathon continues. Here is another life lesson that Beau taught my wife, Sugar. I offer it so that you may avoid the problem she encountered.

Shootin' the Breeze

I regret that I cannot publish this as a photo-journalist.  Unfortunately, I was not present during the events described hereinafter involving my wife, Sugar, and dog, Beau.  This is what we scientists and anthropological researchers call an anecdotal narrative.

It is really Sugar’s anecdote, which she described for me as I listened with grave empathy.  I am writing this narrative about her experience in order to help mankind and add to the knowledge of the world for this and future generations.  Many cultures pass down stories as a way to keep an historical perspective.  That is my noble purpose.  My intent in sharing what happened to Sugar is in no way intended to embarrass her;  rather, it is for the greater good of civilization.

So Sugar was preparing our RV for a trip (while I was in town practicing law) and one of her self-appointed tasks was to stick a…

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First Date Disaster

It is lucky for me that my wife was ever born.  Allow me to explain.

Her parents, Ginger and Bob, recently celebrated their anniversary.  They reminisced about their first date.  It was a blind date.  It was a disaster.  Nevertheless, Ginger gave Bob another chance — and the rest is history, including the birth of three children, one of whom I married.

Are you wondering why that might not have happened?  If you were in Ginger’s shoes, one date like her first with Bob   might have been enough.

I don’t blame Bob for being nervous.  He was only 19 years old at the time, hardly a man of the world.  He was out with the prettiest girl he had ever seen.  It was a double date.  His friend had fixed him up with Ginger, who, like his own date, was a nursing student.  Bob had been skeptical about being fixed up with a girl he had never seen, but when he saw his date, he was well pleased.

He was well pleased, but not what one might think of as cool, in the sense of suave, as he was trying so mightily to be.  He wanted to impress his lovely date.  He did impress her, but not in the way he intended.

At some point in the evening, Bob got up from the table to go to the restroom.  As he returned, his friend signaled Bob that his fly was unzipped.  Bob got the hint.  Subtly, after he sat down, Bob zipped his fly.

Later, he asked Ginger to dance.  He stood up to pull out her chair.  In the process, he pulled the tablecloth off the table, knocking over glasses, spilling drinks, and breaking plates — for Bob had zipped the tablecloth into his pants.  What a sophisticate!

They are still laughing about it five decades plus later.

Fixin’ To Travel

For some reason, Sugar, my wife and supervisor, believes that our travel trailer needed new fold-down steps, just because I drove away with them down and bent them by striking a post. And not only that, she was insistent that we replace the jack that some  folks say is preferable to using sheer might.   I don’t mind lifting up the trailer to put it on the hitch, but Sugar is just a girl and wants modern conveniences.  You probably think that I was somehow responsible for bending the previous jack.  You are correct.  Well, technically, I did not bend it, the concrete bump I drove over when leaving a gas station is what bent it.  You see where this is going — Sugar made me replace it.  So I did.

Sugar did not like our tires on the truck merely because of wear from a couple or maybe seven or maybe eight years.  So we got new tires.  Because I married a sissy girl.  Safety is a big concern for her so it is for me too.

Now let’s talk about glow plugs for the diesel engine in that truck with the new tires.  Sugar likes the truck to start on cold days.  I don’t mind spending a half hour getting it started.  Those old glow plugs and I understood each other.  But no, Sugar wanted new glow plugs.  So we got us some.

Get the picture?  You won’t be surprised that we got new stabilizer bars for the trailer.

So we are ready for our next trip.  I sure hope I don’t break anything.

Wagon Train

Sugar and I had dinner last night with friends, Kent and Trisha.  Recently, I wrote about Kent returning from a six month sabbatical the very same week that our cat returned from hers.  Each have had trouble adjusting to their respective former lives.  We have the cat locked on the back screened-in porch.  By contrast Kent’s law firm staff have not been successful keeping him locked in his familiar office.  This week he announced his retirement.

The cat has everything she needs on the porch — food, water, a litter box, and a bed.

Kent and Trisha purchased a motorhome.  It has all those same things and more.  For example, they upgraded from a mere litter box to have better accomodations.  Classy! 

They are booked for a trip to Alaska.  It sounds like a wonderful way to travel.  They are going to be part of a wagon train.  There will be a wagonmaster, a mechanic, and a paramedic with the wagon train.  People with RVs will travel together, each with a two-way radio so the wagonmaster can communicate with them.  He will also serve as tour guide and comment via radio on what they are seeing.  What a great idea.

Sugar and I have an RV.  What we don’t have is the time.  We are envious, but we will vicariously enjoy our friends’ adventures.

Beau Helps Sugar

I regret that I cannot publish this as a photo-journalist.  Unfortunately, I was not present during the events described hereinafter involving my wife, Sugar, and dog, Beau.  This is what we scientists and anthropological researchers call an anecdotal narrative.

It is really Sugar’s anecdote, which she described for me as I listened with grave empathy.  I am writing this narrative about her experience in order to help mankind and add to the knowledge of the world for this and future generations.  Many cultures pass down stories as a way to keep an historical perspective.  That is my noble purpose.  My intent in sharing what happened to Sugar is in no way intended to embarrass her;  rather, it is for the greater good of civilization.

So Sugar was preparing our RV for a trip (while I was in town practicing law) and one of her self-appointed tasks was to stick a hose down the toilet, apparently, in an effort to, you know, flush out the system.   She believes herself to be capable of performing this particular task without assistance.

Beau disagreed.  He hastened to assist.  He pulled on the hose, which, of course, was sticking out the door so as to be attached to the water hydrant.  He pulled it suddenly and with enthusiasm characteristic of Yellow Labrador Retrievers.

Miss Sugar was ill-prepared and, consequently, handled the situation poorly.  The way she tells this amusing anecdote, the hose emerged from the toilet and sprayed Sugar in the face.  She did not consider the hose which came into contact with her face to be entirely sanitary due to its recent placement down the toilet and into the tank which is used to hold, well, you know what it holds.

I have carefully explained to Beau that his involvement with hoses, which has been the subject of other posts about Beau, is unacceptable.

His remorse seemed feigned and insincere.

I just hope that Sugar has learned her lesson.  I explained to her that she made a big mistake by not putting Beau in his pen whenever she intends to use a hose.

Her appreciation for my wise counsel seemed feigned and insincere.

My work as a mediator is completed.  From now on, they will have to work it out between themselves.

Soaking in the Fountain of Youth

Ponce de Leon, in his quest to find the legendary fountain of youth, by all reports did not make it to Wyoming.  Unlike him, I have been to Wyoming, the location of the fountain of youth.  Is it just a coincidence that Mr. de Leon is dead and I am alive and kicking?  I think he might still be around if he had visited Wyoming instead of Florida, or wherever he looked for the elusive fountain of youth.

It is not often that I am the youngest person present at a gathering of the general public, but at the Saratoga Springs, Wyoming hot springs known as Hobo Pool, I was.

As I entered the hot pool area, there were two older men with Santa-like beards, both in length and whiteness.  Maybe that is why it is called Hobo Pool.  They looked the part.

Shortly after I lowered my lithe, youthful body into the supposedly healing waters, three more men, one bald and two white-haired ones, joined us at the pool.  They all knew each other.  I was the odd man out.  Eventually, however, I made friends with them.

One got out of the pocket of his robe a thermometer and pronounced that the temperature of the pool was 107.9 degrees, which is a good conversation starter.  I learned that that they all come almost every day.  I learned about the underground hot springs piped into the pool.  I learned about the history of the Indians discovering it near the North Platte River.  I learned about the source of the name, Hobo Pool, due to the railroad tracks going by, and hobos being aware of the free spa experience in that bend of the river.  I learned that these hot natural springs full of minerals and smelling of sulfur seemed to offer health benefits.   My bald friend said that he moved to Saratoga eleven years ago and used the pool every day.  He said he had not been ill since, whereas previously he had often been sick.  It sounded like the biblical Pool of Bethesda. or the pool at Lourdes.

I then witnessed proof of the healing power of the pool.  None of the men were wearing glasses, yet when Miss Sugar appeared,  they all gave every indication that their vision was clear.

You see, Miss Sugar had forgotten to pack her swimsuit, unlike me.  After I paid the admission fee for myself, Miss Sugar explained her predicament to the gatekeeper.  He actually waived the admission fee for her and allowed her in for free, which offended my sense of fairness.  “Hey, Sugar,” I said, “can’t you read?”  “The sign says no nude bathing.”

My new friends turned on me.  To a man, they vehemently declared that they did not mind and voted to waive the rule.  Rules are made to be broken, according to them.

I, an attorney, disagreed.  I strongly felt that she should have paid the fee like the rest of us, so I paid the guy.

What was Miss Sugar trying to pull?  A fee is a fee.

P.S.  Most of what I write about is totally true.  Miss Sugar has asked me to confess that the part I wrote about her, above, is not exactly accurate.  The part about her forgetting her suit is true.  The part about her coming to the pool anyway is not true.  I was just funnin’ about.  But, seriously, did you just want to read about me and five other old guys sitting in a hot springs pool?

P.P.S.  There is no admission fee.  It is open every hour of every day for free.  Check it out.

P.P.P.S.  There IS a sign that says, “No alcohol.  No profanity.  No nude swimming.”  That about covers it.  So, don’t forget your swimsuit, forget the booze though, and watch your mouth.

A Hero in My Own Mind

A woman should not hitchhike alone.  It can be dangerous.

I knew that.  I hated the thought of Miss Sugar out on the highway in Wyoming’s strong November wind.

It was that wind which diminished the fuel efficiency of our Ford F250 pickup.  That and pulling the RV trailer.  I should have calculated those factors when deciding to try to make it to Laramie.

There is a 45 mile stretch with no service stations between our northern Colorado ranch and Laramie, Wyoming.  In hindsight, I regretted not filling up the truck before we left.  Sure they sell diesel less than a mile from our place, but it is cheaper to buy it in Wyoming.  Less tax.  Plus, it would be inefficient to backtrack nearly 8/10th of a mile out of our way just to fill up for peace of mind.  One must have confidence, living without fear.

I thought we could make it, so imagine my alarm when the fuel gauge showed empty while we were still 20 miles from Laramie.

Twenty miles is too far to travel on an empty tank.  It is also too far to walk.  Fifteen, even ten miles are too far to walk.  Going there and back doubles the distance.  I doubted she could make it back before nightfall.  Not with her bum knee.

I was worried about Sugar’s bum knee.  Walking that far wouldn’t help it none.  In a bad accident last year, one of her injuries was a torn posterior cruciate ligament.  Since then, she has been unable to run.  She even walks much slower.  Nevertheless, the choice was clear as to which of us should go for fuel.  Obviously, I was needed to protect the RV.  I have a gun and she does not.

Sugar’s mother, Italian father, and two brothers might not agree with that choice, but we’d all have a good laugh about this at Thanksgiving as long as Sugar was safe.  No harm, no foul.  Right?  As long as she could get back safely….

I would hate it if anything happened to my beloved wife.  I imagined that someone would give her a ride.  Hopefully, it would be a kind soul and not some badman or badmen.   It was a risk, sure, but that diesel engine can’t run without fuel.  Surely, someone would give her a ride back too.   Even a couple gallons gets heavy after a few miles of carrying it.

Sugar would hate it if anything happened to our new used RV.  She has worked so hard to get it ready for the trip.  Some of you have read about our prior disappointments when we had to cancel our maiden voyage.  She had so looked forward to this weekend.

So, knowing she would hate it if anything happened to the RV, I vowed to protect it.  I was thankful that the RV itself has heat and a warm bed because it could take a long time for my wife to return with the fuel.  Maybe time enough for a movie since it is equipped with the DVD and TV.  It is important to be comfortable while worrying about a loved one.

I am a lucky man to be married to such a trooper.  She is quite a gal.  I made a mental note to get Sugar some Mace for the future.  Like I always say, “Be prepared.”

I love her so much that it hurts me to disappoint her.  That is why I was wise to not let her know when I noticed the fuel gauge showed empty while we still had those twenty miles to go.  I did not tell her of my worried thoughts above.  And that is why I was relieved when, miraculously, we made it to a service station in Laramie.  No harm, no foul.

What she don’t know won’t hurt her, or me.

I guess God did not like the idea of Sugar walking along the highway.  After all, she is one of his favorites.

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