Monthly Archives: January 2016

Lingo

Standard
 
lin·go
/ˈliNGɡō/

noun

informal humorous
the vocabulary or jargon of a particular subject or group of people

from https://www.google.com/search?q=lingo+definition&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

I hate lingo. When folks use specialized language, it feels like a separation to me–us vs. them. If you understand the specialized words I use, we have something in common and we are insiders. Those people over there who don’t understand what we’re talking about? They must be outsiders, and good riddance!

I know lingo also makes communication easier for people who share knowledge. Like pronouns, lingo saves us from having to use full descriptions every time we talk. But lingo is often exclusionary, even if folks don’t mean to use it that way. In the interest of sharing knowledge, I will now explain some of the lingo I’ve encountered while living my life on the road.

Airstream–A brand of travel trailer made from distinctively shiny metal, with curves instead of corners.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)–Government agency that administers public land, especially in the Southwest. There is so much BLM land where folks can boondock/dry camp for free.

Boondock–Staying somewhere (often public land) for free. Some people use boondock interchangeably with dry camp, while others differentiate between the two and use boondock only in relation to public land.

Canned ham–(I just learned this one a few days ago.) A trailer, usually vintage, in the shape of a can of ham on its side. (http://www.theladyisatramp.net/definitions/)

Casita–Brand of a particular style of lightweight travel trailer. (http://casitatraveltrailers.com/)

*Class ARV that looks like a bus with a flat front nose; motorhome.

*Class B–A van with the comforts (shower, toilet, kitchenette) of an RV.

*Class CRV with a van nose and an overhead cab with a bed.

CRVL–I saw this twice at the RTR and had no idea what it meant, until I saw it spelled out in tiny letters at the bottom of a sticker. CRVL stands for Cheap RV Living, the website, as in http://www.cheaprvliving.com/.

*Dispersed camping–Camping on public land in places other than official campgrounds; sometimes called primitive camping.

Dry camping–Camping with no hookups, sometimes used interchageably with boondock.

*5th wheel–Trailers which hook to a hitch in the bed of a pickup truck.

Full-timer–Someone who does not have a sticks-n-bricks house; someone who lives on the road.

*House battery–A deep cycle battery used to run household items in a rig.

Mr. Buddy–a brand of heaters which run on propane and are very popular with vandwellers and rubber tramps.

Part-timer–Someone who has a sticks-n-bricks house where s/he lives at least sometimes; someone who lives on the road sometimes, but also lives in her/his own conventional home sometimes.

Popup–A type of towed RV that can be collapsed for easy storage and transport. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popup_camper)

Primitive camping–Camping on public land in places other than official campgrounds. In primitive camping areas, there are no water, sewage, or electrical hookups and usually no toilets of any kind, no water, no ramadas, no picnic tables, and no metal fire rings. Primitive camping is sometimes called dispersed camping. Folks boondock or dry camp in primitive camping areas.

Rig–What one drives and lives in. My rig is a conversion van. A rig can be a cargo van. A rig can be a pickup truck with a slide-in camper. A rig can be a car or an SUV. A rig can be a motorhome. A rig can be a Class A, a Class B, or a Class C. A rig can be a combination of a travel trailer or a converted cargo trailer or a 5th wheel or a tear drop or a popup and a tow vehicle.

Rubber tramp–A person who travels and lives out of their vehicle (normally an RV, van, bus, etc.). They stop and stay wherever they choose for however long they want, but eventually, so as long as there’s a way to put gas in their tank, move on. (from Urban Dictionary, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Rubber+Tramp) Not all folks at the RTR would consider themselves rubber tramps.

Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR)–A winter gathering in Quartzsite, AZ for folks who live on the road (either full-timers or part-timers) or who want to live on the road. At the RTR there are seminars about living on the road, group meals, and opportunities to meet people and hang out with friends. I’ve written quite a bit about my experiences at the RTR; see those posts here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/21/the-rubber-tramp-rendezvous-week-1-2/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/24/rubber-tramp-rendezvous-week-2-2/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/27/thoughts-on-the-rtr-2015/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/01/23/report-on-the-2016-rubber-tramp-rendezvous/. Also see http://www.cheaprvliving.com/gatherings/ for more info about the RTR.

RV–Recreational vehicle. RVs include motorhomes, 5th wheels, travel trailers, and Classes A, B, and C.

Shakedown–a practice trip taken before a longer trip. (According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakedown_cruise, this term comes from “shakedown cruise,” which “is a nautical term in which the performance of a ship is tested.”)

*Snowbird–Someone who lives in cool places in the summer and warm places in the winter, traveling as the seasons change. Snowbirds can travel north to south or from low elevation to to high elevation and back again.

Solo–Traveling alone, usually said in regards to a woman. The assumption that most women travel with a man is often made, so a distinction is sometimes made when a women travels alone. I’ve never heard anyone asking a man if he is solo or hearing a man describe himself as solo.

Stealth parking–Living in one’s rig (especially in a city) without others knowing one is living in one’s rig. For more on stealth parking, see http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/bobs-12-commandments-for-stealth-parking-in-the-city/ and http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/stealth-parking-locations-part-2/.

Sticks-n-bricks–A conventional home, although it doesn’t have to be made from wood and bricks. A sticks-n-bricks can be an apartment or a manufactured home, or a house made from adobe or stucco or straw-bale. A sticks-n-bricks isn’t mobile.

Teardropa streamlined, compact, lightweight travel trailer, which gets its name from its teardrop profile. They usually only have sleeping space for two adults and often have a basic kitchen in the rear. (https://www.google.com/search?q=teardrop+trailer+definition&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8.)

Toad–(This was a new one to me at the 2016 RTR.)–A vehicle towed behind an RV. I guess because the vehicles are towed, people started calling them toads. People in big motorhomes often pull a vehicle behind the motorhome so they can park their rig and use the smaller vehicle to drive around for errands and exploring.

Tow vehicle–What one uses to tow one’s travel trailer.

*Travel trailer (TT)–Travel trailers hook up to a hitch and are pulled by a tow vehicle. Travel trailers vary greatly in size. Most people use the travel trailer as living quarters and don’t live in the tow vehicle.

*Vandweller–A person living in his/her van who wants to be there.

Vault (or pit) toilet–Non-flushing toilet sometimes found on public land.

*All or part of starred definitions come from How to Live in a Car, Van, or RV by Bob Wells. I highly recommend this book to anyone contemplating or starting life on the road.

What lingo dealing with life on the road do you know that I have not included in this post? Please leave a comment with other terms you hear rubber tramps and van dwellers and RVers toss around.

Mr Heater A323000 Buddy Heater

 


Pancakes!

Standard

One of my favorite things about Quartzsite in the winter is eating free pancakes at La Mesa RV. IMG_4453

La Mesa RV (at the corner of Main and Central [Highway 95] in Quartzsite) is in the business of selling motorhomes and 5th wheels. A marketing ploy the company uses to get people on their Quartzsite lot is a free pancake breakfast six mornings a week (Monday through Saturday) from 8am to 10am.

Breakfast is held in the Silver Buckle Customer Oasis, IMG_4402a large room filled with tables. The building was once a bar (I was told by an old-timer), which explains why there are multiple pairs of (definitely used) cowboy boots hanging from the ceiling as decoration. Folks line up at the counter along the back wall to pick up their breakfast.

On most days, folks receive two large flapjacks on their plate. Sometimes real creamery butter is served on the side, still wrapped in gold foil. Other days a blob of buttery spread (ingredients unknown) is plopped right on top of the pancakes. Plastic cutlery, napkins, and syrup (regular and sugar free) are on the condiment island at the end of the serving line.

Sometimes on Friday, biscuits and gravy are on the menu instead of pancakes. By biscuits, I mean each person receives one biscuit cut in half and covered in white gravy in which tidbits of sausage float. I think this deviation from pancakes is supposed to be a treat, but one biscuit with some flour and water gravy and a few bits of sausage does not fill me up nearly as much as two almost-plate-sized flapjacks.

Coffee is available. It’s a weak coffee, so weak in fact I can have one cup of it and not feel jittery. Cream and sugar are available in small paper packets, and I always manage to leave white dust on my table. Orange and apple juice are sometimes available, and there’s drinking water in a big orange cooler.

The first time one arrives for breakfast, one must go up to the counter made from the front end of a giant motorhome, and fill out a card. The card has blanks for one’s name, mailing address, phone number, and email address. (I’ve never provided my phone number or email address and was not challenged about my omissions.) At the bottom of the card, one is asked about the rig one currently drives. I was honest and wrote in ’92 Chevy G20. After the blanks are filled in, a woman working the counter writes one’s name on a name tag and hands it over. The  name tag lasts all season, and one is required to wear it whenever one wants to eat breakfast. IMG_4469

That’s the extent of the hoops one must jump through to get to the pancakes. No salesperson ever approached me to talk about any possible RV purchase, which is good, since the lowest price I’ve seen on any RV there was $17,000. Most RVs at La Mesa are upwards of $25,000, and some cost as much as $250,000! If I had to prove my ability to purchase the merchandise, I’d never be allowed near the pancakes.

The only sort of marketing involved with breakfast is being exposed to a video loop of La Mesa propaganda broadcast on the televisions scattered throughout the room. The videos include testimonials from satisfied Las Mesa customers, RVing tips (like leaving solid air fresheners throughout a motorhome when not in use so the RV smells fresh the next time it’s entered), and an educational piece detailing the hand signals one should use when helping an RV driver back up. I can honestly say that not once have any of these videos made me consider buying an RV from La Mesa.

Lots of people show up for the free La Mesa breakfast, and most of them are not from the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. At 44, I was usually one of the youngest people in the room (although as the winter population of Quartzsite expanded, I saw more people who seemed to be the kids and grandkids of the older demographic). One day I caught a quite elderly man looking at me as if I were a teenager!

When I’m in Quartzsite, I don’t go into town for the free breakfast every day. I figure I’m not saving any money if I use gas to drive the seven or so miles round trip for free pancakes. But when I’m going into town anyway, I arrive early so I can be one of the first people in line for breakfast at La Mesa.

La Mesa has locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Florida. IMG_4451(I don’t know if the other locations give out free food.) When I’m driving along and see the sign at one of the other locations or if I see a La Mesa commercial on TV, I shout, Pancakes! I’m not sure that’s the association for which the owners of La Mesa RV were hoping.

I took all the photos in this post.

Naked Guy

Standard

Last year when doing research on Quartzsite after I’d left, I saw a few references to a nudist who ran a bookstore. After thinking, oh, I missed that, I didn’t give it much thought.

When I met Iggy on Facebook and we compared our 2015 Quartzsite and RTR experiences, he asked if I’d been to the bookstore with the naked guy. When I said I hadn’t, he told me that during his visit, the owner wore nothing but a sock (and he wasn’t talking about on the guy’s foot). Iggy said the guy sometimes wore a jacket if the temperature dropped.

The naked guy in the bookstore became a joke between us (along with the English dish called spotted dick, but that’s a whole other story). Once I got to Quartzsite, I kept saying I was going to go to the bookstore and see the naked guy, but I kept leaving town before I made it out that way. Finally on the last Saturday of the RTR, I paid my visit.

The name of the store is Reader’s Oasis Books,IMG_4459 and it’s located at 690 East Main Street in Quartzsite. The naked guy is owner Paul Winer.

I did see Paul when I walked into the shop. He was wearing big glasses, a jacket, and a black…what to call it? Thong? Pouch? Penis sheath? Banana hammock? What I’m trying to say is that his penis and testicles were covered, but not much else was. When he turned around (yes, I looked), I saw his butt cheeks and a strip of cloth running up his butt crack. (Wedgie city!) It really wasn’t all that shocking. However, I was expecting to see a naked guy there. I’m sure it would have been more shocking had I stumbled across a nearly naked man in a bookstore.

The bookstore is incredible! It is big and stuffed full of books and handwritten signs and pictures and shiny rocks and memorabilia. There is a lot to see in that store. The selection is broad, from 3 for $1 romance novels to military history to old-school children’s books to cookbooks to books on religion to books pertaining specifically to the Southwest. The bookmark I ended up buying (featuring a photo of Paul with his thumb up and sporting a big beard and shades; wearing multiple turquoise necklaces, a straw hat, and a bit of cloth over his privates) boasts over 180,000 titles, and I believe it.

One unusual thing I noticed (in addition to the nearly naked proprietor) was that the majority of the books in the place are tightly wrapped in plastic. Why? One person (unaffiliated with the bookstore) I talked to thought maybe it was to keep dust out of the books. Personally, I’d be hesitant to buy a used book I couldn’t check for mold, water damage, or loose binding.

I also noticed that Paul seems to play up the wackiness of a naked guy in a bookstore. There were photos of him throughout the store, many featuring different penis coverings. I guess if there’s a naked guy in a bookstore anyway, it’s a good way to draw people in. If you’ve got a naked guy around, you might as well flaunt him.

It’s easy to laugh at a naked guy selling books, but in the photos of him scattered through the store, Paul looks like a happy man. If his dream was to be a nudist in the desert and sell books, he’s quite a success. There aren’t too many places where a man can wear a thong in January and not (literally) freeze his balls off. As a nudist in Quartzsite, Paul pretty much has it made.

I didn’t buy any books at Reader’s Oasis. I had plenty of books in the van, and I’m being careful about the money I’m spending. But I did buy two Reader’s Oasis bookmarks. One is for me so I can hang it in the big collage in my van. The other is for Iggy because I knew he wouldn’t buy one for himself.

I took the photo in this post.

Thrift Stores in Quartzsite, AZ

Standard

In addition to all the flea markets in Quartzsite, another source for used items is the town’s thrift stores. I’ve visited three thrift stores in Quartzsite, and if there are others, I don’t know about them.

The Salvations Army Thrift Store is located at 101 Moon Mountain Road. IMG_4528From Main Street, turn north onto Moon Mountain Road. The Salvation Army store will be on the east side of the street, about half a block down. The thrift shop is across the street from the Isaiah 58 Project compound. Parking is in the gravel lot in front of the store.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store has a small selection of mass-market paperbacks; I think they sell three for $1. The store also has cheap VHS tapes and a few CDs. There is usually a large selection of housewares, pots and pan, plates and glasses. The selection of linens and pillows tends to be small, and the items seem well used. The shoes available also tend to be well used, and I’ve never seen clothes here that I like in my size. I’ve found a few fun things in the toy department, like a couple of small troll dolls (two for 50 cents) to send to my rock guy. IMG_4671In 2015, I got great deals on yarn at this store, but in 2016, the prices were higher for boring colors.

Prices are decent here. Most clothing costs a dollar or two per piece. Many things in the housewares section are 50 cents to $1. (Higher end items are more expensive; I once saw a cast iron Dutch oven there with a sticker price of $30.) Small toys are very inexpensive, as are greeting cards.

IMG_4527I definitely suggest the Salvation Army store as a place to look for needed items before buying new, and it’s fun to browse here even if nothing specific is needed.

The Quartzsite Community Thrift Store (7 Showplace Lane) is located near the end of the street that runs along the side of Silly Al’s pizza place. The parking lot is also gravel and in front of the store. The parking area is not as big as the one at the Salvation Army store, but there may be more parking in the back.IMG_4529

There is usually a stack of free books under a covered area on the east side of the parking lot, but I’ve never found anything I wanted to read there. The store offers some higher-end decorative items near the front of the store. The price of women’s clothing seems to start around $2; I’ve never seen clothes here that I like in my size either. I have found good prices on yarn at this store—50 cents to $1 a roll or for several smaller bits of yarn bagged together—but the selection was better in 2015. There’s a decent-sized selection of books in the second room, but I haven’t seen much there that I’d be interested in reading. Also in the second room are mostly inexpensive housewares and a small selection of well-used linens.

IMG_4456The Animal Refuge Thrift Store is on the other side of town, east of Central (Highway 95), on the south side of Main Street.

When I visited this shop in 2015, it was cluttered and uninviting. In 2016, the store was filled with only the best merchandise, and the higher prices reflected the nicer inventory. As I was not looking for higher-end but more expensive items, I was not really impressed with anything in the store. I looked around quickly, realized what was up, and left.

I’ve got no problem with a resale store specializing in higher-end and pricier merchandise. What I do have a problem with is when such stores call themselves thrift. To me, thrift means inexpensive. Why not call themselves upscale resale or high-end used or gently-used boutique? I guess they figure thrift draws people in, and they hope folks in a buying frenzy will find something to purchase.

I do have to give the workers at the Animal Refuge Thrift Store props for keeping the store clean with uncluttered, neatly arranged merchandise. The store definitely looked nice. Also, the woman working when I went in was friendly and made sure I knew the proceeds from the store goes to help animals.

Since I don’t really need anything these days, and I’m trying to buy less, I might not be the best person to review thrift stores. Still, I like to browse and see what’s available. I’m always looking for something better than what I have that’s selling at a good price. When I’m in Quartzsite, I like to see what’s happening at the thrift shops.

I took all photos in this post.

Quartzsite, Arizona

Standard

IMG_2670

Quartzsite is a small Arizona town located at the crossroads of Interstate 10 and Highway 95. The town is 83 miles from Yuma; 125 miles from Phoenix; 296 miles from Tucson; 214 miles from Las Vegas, NV; and 17 miles from the California border. The town sits at an elevation of 813 feet, with the Kofa Mountains to the south.

The population of Quartzsite (as of 2013) is 3,643, but that number swells in the winter, especially in January and February when the town is crowded with flea markets, rock shops, and scratch and dent groceries (over 1,000 vendors each year), most in temporary stores housed in tents. Of course, the shops wouldn’t exist without shoppers. The shoppers are primarily snowbirds who’ve come from colder climes to enjoy Quartzsite’s average temperature of 73 degrees (Fahrenheit). Most of the snowbirds are RVers (many in enormous motorhomes) who camp in one of the 60 RV parks in and around town or on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, in either Long Term Visitor areas or 14-day free camping areas.

IMG_2640

The shopping in Quartzsite is impressive. The United Nations of vendors sell out of temporary structures that are nothing more than tents, which make me imagine Middle Eastern bazaars and the marketplaces in villages of the European Middle Ages. If you want to buy shiny rocks, Quartzsite is the place to shop. If you want to buy an RV or accessories for the one you already have, Quartzsite is the place to shop. If you want great bargains on packaged food and don’t mind a dented can or a recently expired “sell by” date, Quartzsite is the place to shop. If you want to buy inexpensive tools, Quartzsite is the place to shop. If you believe one person’s junk is another person’s treasure, the Quartzsite is the place to shop. If you don’t know what you want, but sure enjoy looking, Quartzsite is the place to shop.

If, on the other hand, you want to use free high speed internet, Quartzsite is really not the place to be. I don’t think the Quartzsite WiFi infrastructure is up to the number of people downloading, uploading, streaming, and trying to check weather and email. In 2015, I had luck using the free WiFi at Burger King, but the one day I sat there in 2016, I was in a constant flux of loosing my connection and logging back on. I couldn’t even get a post up on Facebook. One day I had luck at the Pilot, but the next day I couldn’t get my blog to load. I had better luck at the Carl’s Jr. one afternoon, but I wouldn’t say the WiFi was fast. It took me six hours to get two blog posts scheduled (even though both were already written and one was already a Word document I only had to cut and paste) because it took an eternity for each photo to upload. At least there was an electrical outlet to plug into.

The WiFi at the Quartzsite public library was not any better than the WiFi at the fast food restaurants in town. The library consists of a couple of small, crowded rooms in the Municipal Center at 465 Plymouth Road. IMG_4524The library is crammed with books, and nonresidents can even borrow them. The library also houses several public access computers which seem to always be in use. I tried utilizing the library’s free WiFi on my laptop, and the service was super slow and frustrating. Don’t expect to charge electronics in the library. When I asked a library worker about electrical outlets, she said there were none. When my friend found one hidden behind the books and plugged in his phone, he was chastised by a worker for using the library’s electricity.

For folks looking for shopping that doesn’t involve flea markets and shiny rocks, there are several thrift stores in Quartzsite. (I’ll post some info about Quartzsite thrift stores soon.) For book lovers, Reader’s Oasis Books is not to be missed.

For folks who are all shopped out, there are some other cool things to see in or near Quartzsite.

Said to be the most visited location in Quartzsite, the Hi Jolly Pioneer Cemetery is an interesting place to visit, especially for history buffs. (Read about my visit to the Hi Jolly Pioneer Cemetery here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/06/20/hi-jollys-tomb/.)

IMG_2645

In 2015 I visited the Tyson Well Stage Station Museum. Admission was free, so it was worth the visit, but I can’t say I was impressed by the exhibits. I thought there was too much stuff crammed into too small a space. Many pieces were on display with no explanation as to why they were there. Of course, the museum could have changed for the better in a year, so I urge history buffs to check out the museum at 161 West Main Street.

Other places I haven’t visited by look interesting include the Great Tree, a 1,050 year old ironwood tree that’s witnessed the entire 100+ years of Arizona statehood; Celia’s Rainbow Gardens, located at the north end of the Quartzsite town Park on Plymouth Road; and the Quartzsite Rock Alignment and the Bouse Fisherman, a 30-foot-long intaglio.

Maybe next year!

IMG_2672

Thanks to the 2015-2016 Quartzsite Vistor Guide (www.quartzsitevisitorguide.com) published by Pilot Rock Publishing for many of the facts in this post.

I took all the photos in this post.

 

Collage Book

Standard

My latest collage project was decorating a book for a friend. I found a small notebook with hard covers for a good price at a thrift store. The images on the covers were ugly, so I decided to collage and decoupage.

This is the front of the collaged book.

This is the front of the collaged book. The mirror, key, peace sign, and coin are actual objects, so this is a mixed media piece.

This is the back cover of the collaged book.

This is the back cover of the collaged book.

This is what the front and back covers look like side by side.

This is what the front and back covers look like side by side.

My friend is going to use this book to log her travels in her Dolphin motor home.

The Free Pile at the RTR

Standard

One of my favorite things about both the 2015 and 2016 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) gatherings were the free piles. Both years, organizers set up an area where people cold leave things they didn’t want and other folks could pick up anything they did want, all with no monetary exchange or bartering. I love gift economy!

I don’t remember everything I gave away the first year, but I know I added to the pile. Likewise, I don’t remember everything I took from the free pile either, but I know I got one of the items I use most in van life from there: my pee bucket. It’s plastic, with a cover that latches on tightly. The lid has a handle too, which makes carrying the bucket over to a bush or a pit toilet very convenient. To make the fact that I’m transporting urine in it less obvious, I wrapped it in pink duct tape. Thanks free pile!

This year I added two books, a pair of worn-only-once black leggings, a small plate, multiple glue sticks, and other odds and ends I can’t remember to the free pile. (I should have written an inventory of what I contributed.) In return, I got so many good things, even though I was being really picky about what I took back to the van, since I’m trying to live with less, not collect more stuff I don’t really need.

I picked up quite a bit of food from the free pile this year. Early on, I got two cans of vegetarian refried beans and two large cans of tuna. Later I picked up a sealed box of whole grain spaghetti. After the soup dinner, the head cook contributed to the free pile all the cans of food not used for the soup or chili dinners. I picked up a small box of vegan, organic black bean soup; a jar of organic spaghetti sauce; another can of vegetarian refried beans; a can of black beans; two cans of garbanzo beans; a can of sliced carrots; five cans of diced tomatoes; and three cans of chili beans.

One day I dug through the piles of clothing and found a brightly colored fleecy Cuddl Duds brand shirt. It was only a large, and I usually wear XXL shirts, but it looked rather big, so I took it to my van home anyway. Because the fabric was stretchy, it fit me, albeit snugly. It was very warm and comfy, and I wore it on two of the coldest nights at the RTR.

A few days later, I was poking through the free clothes (not that I need any more clothes) and found a bright purple (with silver sparkles) furry sweater that I immediately loved. I was super excited when I looked at the tag and found the size: XXL! Score! The sweater was in excellent condition, and I wore it throughout the rest of the RTR. (I returned the slightly too small Cuddl Duds shirt to the free pile in hopes it would be found and loved by someone it fit better.)

Although lots of books were dropped off at the free pile, I already had lots of books in the van, so I was very particular about what I took. I did pick up one hardback book that looked entertaining. It’s called Cinnamon and Gunpowder, and it was written by Eli Brown. It’s a novel about a fancy chef who’s kidnapped by a female pirate, and it turned out to be a great read. At the end of the gathering, I couldn’t resist picking up Almost French, a memoir by Sarah Turnbull about being an  Aussie in Paris in the mid 90s.

IMG_4461

This is the chair I scored from the RTR free pile.

Possibly the best item I got from the free pile (it’s a tossup between this and the furry purple sweater), is a very sturdy folding camp chair complete with a folding tray on the side. When I first tried to lift the tray, it was difficult to move, due to some rust. Thanks to a squirt of WD40 (Thanks, Miz Sassy!), I got the tray sliding easily. The top surface of the tray had some (water?) damage, so I decided to collage and decoupage.

This is how the tray looked when I got the chair from the free pile.

This is how the tray looked when I got the chair from the free pile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4514

This is how the tray looks after my collage and decoupage action. The map is of New Mexico. (It only shows Taos to Socorro.) Many of the other images are of or remind me of the Southwest.

IMG_4466

Organizer pockets originally on my from-the-free-pile folding chair, now on my passenger seat. I can easily grab my water bottle while I’m driving because it’s not rolling around on the floor. My phone goes in one of the top pockets.

The side of the chair without the tray sported a really nice set of pockets. The pocket bag was attached to the chair with hook and loop fasteners, so it was really easy to remove. I attached the pocket bag to the arm of my passenger seat with large safety pins, so now i have a handy place to keep my water bottle, phone, insurance papers, and van registration while I’m driving.

I always have a great time looking through free piles, and I particularly enjoy finding a few great pieces that make my life a little more comfortable. The RTR free pile hasn’t let me down.