Monday, August 30, 2010

We're Legal!

Well, we both turned "that" kind of legal many years ago :-) but now our Tiger is road legal! 

It's been inspected and registered...

...and the title is in our name.  And we got rid of the Arizona plates...

...and put on the Texas plates...

...and crossed some things off our ever-growing list!
 
Our first beer run, now that we're legal :-)

Later that night, we had our first Tiger Hang, where a new nickname was tossed around....."le tigre."  Sadly, I didn't take any pictures, but here's another kind of "le tigre" I found on the world wide interweb

Awesome, no???



Thursday, August 26, 2010

Progress

We saw "180 South" the other night.  It's a documentary about a guy who has spent his life working part-time and temporary jobs so he can go on the ultimate journey to climb a mountain or surf that perfect wave.  "180 South" documents his journey to Patagonia, in Chile/Argentina, to fulfill a 40-year old dream of his.  Wow, what a beautiful place.

It looks like the pictures I've seen of Alaska.
Wow!
I REALLY want to see a glacier.  They're such an awesome and powerful force!  They make rivers and gorges and leave huge boulders where they don't make sense.  Like this:
They're calleds "erratics."  Pretty cool, right? 
(I didn't know that before I googled "giant boulders left by glaciers")

Anyhoo, it was a good movie (although a bit depressing) and got me really excited about our upcoming adventure. 

I'm not usually the philosopher type, but these two quotes really struck me:

"The hardest thing to do is simplify your life."

and

"You can't go backwards, but you can turn around 180 degrees and take one step."

To quote a really annoying song from the 90's, "Things that make ya go hmmmmmmmmmm....."

(Great, now that stupid song is stuck in my head.  Sorry if the same thing happened to you.)

But seriously, it does make you think.  We spend our lives accumulating stuff.  How are we going to get rid of all our stuff and live out of a camper for a year?   I'm actually really looking forward to how freeing it should be, but I wonder if the actual process will be hard??


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fridge Update

It works!!!!

And we didn't have to fix anything or do any crazy RV magic, it just works!  And it's always worked, we just weren't letting it cool down long enough.  So,when we left it alone for 3 hours, it started to cool.  The propane works, the 12 volt works, and the 110 volt works. 

Yay!

And, as far as my adversion to the idea of sleeping 2 feet away from boiling ammonia and hydrogen gas (when it's running on propane): my grandfather said that when he was a little boy, his mom bought a new fridge that ran on gas and it was wonderful.  He even remembers the little blue flame, just like the one on our fridge, so I guess I can't be too scared of it.  After all, the engines in cars are just as crazy--millions of teeny tiny little explosions of gas propelling the car forward!  Yikes.  Kinda scary when you think about it.

So.....let's not.

Oh, and Greg found the fuse box too.  It's all coming up Roses!




UPDATE #2.....  Greg read this and told me that the boiling ammonia/hydrogen gas situtation happens with all three power sources of the fridge, the 12 volt, 110 volt, AND the propane...not JUST the propane.  Good to know, good to know!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fridge Mysteries

It's not working.

It's a three-way fridge, which means that it runs on 12 volt (like your car battery), 110 volt (regular electricity, like in your house), and propane.  So, even if the electrical system is down, the propane should work, right?
 (Also, the fridge needs a good cleaning)

But, when we turn on the propane, it just gets SUPER hot.  So Greg decides to research the whole "how does hot propane make a cold fridge" issue.  And what he found is very interesting, and just a lot scary!

"A gas refrigerator uses ammonia as the coolant, and
it uses water, ammonia and hydrogen gas to create a
continuous cycle for the ammonia."

Um, I'm sorry, did you just say "ammonia"????  And "hydrogen gas"????

"Heat is applied to a solution of ammonia and
water to the boiling point of the ammonia."

Uh, BOILING AMMONIA????


"The water separates from the ammonia gas, which
flows up to the metal condenser, allowing the
ammonia gas to dissipate its heat and condense
into a liquid."

OK, that's not too bad.

But then........


"The liquid ammonia makes its way to the evaporator, where it mixes with hydrogen gas and evaporates, producing cold temperatures inside the refrigerator."


And it gets HOT!!!  Like, so hot, I can't believe something doesn't just catch on fire.  Of course, some people don't even use their fridge, opting instead for coolers.
And, if we can't figure out what's wrong with our fridge, that's where we're headed.  But, more to come about that mystery later, probably when the mystery is solved!






Monday, August 16, 2010

Gettin' the Tiger...and Visiting the Grand Canyon!!

Once we decided we wanted a Tiger (small-ish, better gas mileage that many other campers, good layout with the pop-up top), we started to look for one in earnest.   And just couldn't find one in Texas.  The ones we did find here were sold before we could even look at them.  So, a national search ensued and a couple of Tigers popped up in Florida, a bunch in Colorado, and one in Sedona, Arizona.  Greg talked a lot with the person selling the Tiger in Sedona, saw some pictures, and we decided to buy it sight unseen.  Eeeek!  Scary. 

But, it worked out.  Not only were we able to get the coolest camper ever (which is, btw, EXACTLY as advertised), but we were able to hang out with old friends (who put us up for a few days and were the best hosts ever!!!) and........*drum roll please*.....see the Grand Canyon!!!!  This is one of the reasons for this whole hairbrained idea in the first place----to see places in the U.S. that we've never seen. 

**********excuse me while I experiment with videos**********

Check out our first impression of the grand Grand Canyon.....
video

It's a very cool place!  It's so big that it's really hard to wrap your head around it.  From where we were standing in the video, it's 8 MILES to the other side!!!!!!!  and a MILE down to the bottom!!!  That's just mind-boggling.  
video
Doesn't that just look like a painting? 
(I'm being real quiet on the video b/c I don't want to be "that" girl, who's all loud and obnoxious.  But I'm really WAY more excited than I sound!!)

Where's Greg?
He's just below the mouth of the Bright Angel Trail, which goes half-way down to the bottom.  Here's a shaky video (hey!  I'm still experimenting!) that shows where it goes:
video:

And this is it:
We didn't have time to go all the way down, but, even with the few minutes we were able to spend on the trail, the view changed.  Cool.



On top of the Rim is the El Tovar Hotel.  Here it is from the Bright Angel Trail, looking back up towards the cliff. It's an old hotel from the 20's and has a distinctly "The Shining" feel. But maybe not quite as creepy.

  Here it is from the front.

And then, across from El Tovar, back on the Rim, was this little guy.  It took me a minute to realize that he's BEGGING!!
video

And here's a cool tool that you can look through to see the landmarks of the canyon.
Each indention in the outer shell is marked with the name of a landmark.. Then you put the telescope thing (except it doesn't magnify) in the indention and you know what you're looking at.  Like so:

And this is what you see:
....but I can't remember what that rock outcropping is called.  I think it has something to do with a pope....

I love the "don't get rammed off a cliff."  Yeah, thanks for the reminder!!!

And, of course, watch out for the......

What a very pretty, awesome, awe-inspiring, amazing place. 
Can't wait to see it from the North Rim!

So, we spent a good 5 hours at the Canyon, then went back to Debra's house where we took a well-deserved shower (video & pics not available).

That night, Debra and Ed took us out in downtown Flagstaff.  What a cute town.  Lots of bars and galleries and restaurants and bikers and skiers and outdoorsy people.

And this creepy thing:

The next morning, we left for Austin.  It wasn't a bad drive, even with the lack of AC. 

It took a full two days, because we kept stopping to see stuff.  We went through Winslow, AZ ("standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona...such a fine sight to see...it's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin' down to take a look at me.  Take it eeeeeeeeeeasy, take it eeeeeeeeeeasy....) for a pit-stop and then moved on.  

 Here's the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ.
It's so cute!!!
Each one of those wigwams is a room, with a bed, TV, little table, and bathroom.  And the cars are props.....there's an old car parked in front of each room.  Supposedly, this is the inspiration for the hotel in the movie "Cars."  The red wrecker looks just like Mater!

The view as we drove into New Mexico was pretty neat.

I think we were near Carlsbad Caverns. 

Ya know, we were just trying to get the Tiger home.  We can go spend more time at all these places when we take off for real next year.  But it sure whetted our appetite!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Beginning

The first step to going on an extended road trip is to have something to take you on said extended road trip!  Thus began the search for the perfect camper vehicle.  We knew it had to get good gas mileage (i.e. more than 15 mpg), be solid, and NOT be the kind you tow behind your car.  Greg spent hours online, researching and researching and researching.  The first one we looked at was this:
It was near by, not super old (90's), and had a great layout.  Sounds perfect, right?  Wrong.  Test driving this thing was like driving a top heavy tank.  It swayed and groaned and the wind whistled through it and it felt like it was going to fall apart any minute.  And the faster we went, the worse it got.  Eeeek, no thanks.

So, the search continued.....

We looked at conversion vans......
....but they're bigger than we wanted.

And we looked at Sprinters, which are a cooler version of your run-of-the-mill conversion vans.  Like this:
But as cool as this one was, it was still a little bigger than we wanted and the layout wasn't going to work for two people and a dog.

So, the end result is............The TIGER!!!!! 
(BTW, the Tiger is in the front.  That's a Car-To-Go behind it.  Big & old vs tiny & new!)

Here's the Tiger all pumped up:

The bed is over the cab.  When you pop up the top, you can stand up in the camper and get into the bed.  Here's Debra's son, Jett, showing off all the room up there:
(Check out Debra in the front passenger seat.  Notice how the seat SWIVELS to face the back of the camper!!  The driver's side does that too.  Cool! )

The rest of the camper has a dinette...
(me, enjoying my first cup of coffee in the Tiger!  The roof is NOT popped up in the picture)

.....and a small kitchen, with a stove, microwave, and fridge.


So, now we get to make it fit our needs.  Besides all the stuff just to get the Tiger registered and inspected, we need a mattress for the bed, figure out what to do about the fridge (the one that's in there right now is questionable), clean the carpet, put in a shower, and give it a good cleaning!

Oh, but first, before we do any of that, we have to go to Arizona and pick up the Tiger!  That's next.............