Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A taste of the better life

So, I left you with views from the "restaurants", the mysterious "boots" and solving my battery charging situation.

About the electricity-
The road is calling and I'm still waiting for my solar panel to come in.  With luck I'll see it on Thursday. (If it takes much longer than that, I may not leave Upstate NY at all.  It's beautiful and the people are great.)  The buses, fuses and an outlet are wired and as soon as that solar panel comes in I will connect a diode between the solar panel and the battery, mount the panel on the Pork Chop and go. I must confess, I found it very difficult to wrap my brain around the entire electrical situation.  I managed to figure the system out by piecing it together one piece at a time. 

The entire electrical installation completely lacks elegance and is probably not done as efficiently as possible but I don't think I'll catch the Pork Chop on fire.  Besides, I installed a fire alarm and a carbon monoxide detector.  If one of those suckers goes off in 70 square feet I won't die from the fire or the carbon monoxide, I'll die from a heart attack from the alarms being 5 feet from my head.

The "restaurants"-
As far as the restaurants go there have been a few more spectacular views but I think you get the gist of it.  Again, it's beautiful up here and the leaves are starting to change into the golden and crimson hues of the fall.  These days I've been spending less time hiking and kayaking, and more time with my guitar while experiencing living off the grid.  And that off-grid "homestead" is the best restaurant to date and has provided some of the yummiest meals I've had in my life.

Off the grid-
One of the main things I wanted to experience on this journey is life off-grid.  How fortunate that I was able to live that life right at the start.  For the past several weeks I've been off-grid with no electricity, running water or dial manipulated heat.   Heating and cooking are courtesy of big old wood stove and a 6'3" mountain man.  I wash myself in a shallow 12x16x8 inch plastic tub and pee in a 5 gallon bucket.
The place is 2.5 miles up a forest road and the homestead is a tepee.  Is that cool or what?  This tepee is not your traditional cone shaped canvas type of place, it is shaped like a Ferengi space ship (from Star Trek Next Generation) and is made of tarps.  The inside structure is designed in a traditional NE Native American fashion out of bent saplings that are laced together.  The floor is made of large, flat and loosely placed stones.  It's like you're walking along a stream bed.  You really have to watch your footing, especially at night because one trip up could land you on the wood stove.

Suffice to say, I'm learning a lot.  Water usage is a prime example of what you need to keep an eye on.  We drink water from a near by stream and it must be brought back to the tepee in five gallon jugs.  I was hesitant at first because I was concerned about Giardia but now, I prefer the stream water.  There is no chlorine nor fluoride and it tastes fresh and alive.  The difference in city water verses water out of this stream is amazing.  I recently read a book about how the energy of water crystals react to words written on the sides of the container it's in.  With words like "peace" and "love" the water forms beautiful snowflake type crystals.  Words like "hate" and "violence" create these ugly malformed globs.  Who knows.  All I can say it that the "alive" water feels incredibly nourishing.

The best thing about being up the mountain in the tepee shaped like a Ferengi space ship is the peace.  Oh, and the stars. The other night we laid under a sleeping bag and star gazed in 45 degrees.  It was cold but how long has it been since you've just watched the heavens and kept an eye peeled for shooting stars?  It seems my energy is changing the less I am surrounded by the EMF's (electromagnetic frequencies) of our everyday lives.  I don't think we realize it, at least I didn't, but the constant barrage of noise, electrical current and over all sensory stimulation is taxing on the human physiology to put it mildly.  I spent 3 days on the mountain without any stimulation except for my guitar and when I had to come down, drive and go grocery shopping I found it more stressful than I would have thought.  And this is a small town with no traffic at all!

A person feels a renewed kinship to nature and the rhythm of life by having to make sure that dinner and pretty much everything else you need to do is done before it gets dark.  If you miss your window of opportunity not only will you be eating by candlelight, as beautiful and romantic as that is, you will also be doing dishes while stumbling around on an creek bed floor by that same candle glow.  I wouldn't trade this experience for the world.

The Pork Chop was made possible by:
A. Chris Keenan Carpentry
Specializing in custom cabinets, replacement and restoration of weighted windows and hardwood doors.  Add to his list of skills, vintage trailer cabinets and the patience of a saint!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Out to eat

This is my third attempt at this blog entry today and so all my wit is gone.  I'll let you all know that I am in upstate NY practicing my two new professions, skinny dipping and underachievement.  And loving every minute of it.  Granted the weather has cooled and my skinny dipping practice is waning but that has been replaced by nude hammock napping.

My dream!
I always had a list at home and it was a list I couldn't accomplish in a week let alone in a day.  Now, I have no list, well at least not a very long one.  To keep up on my blog entries and catch you all up on how I've gotten to where I am is my largest stress. Man am I losing sleep over that one.  Not.  The main thing I need to do is to solve my solar power predicament.  I am making progress and soon hope to have my stove and fridge running well.
Eating out has become a huge priority these days and here are the views from some of my favorite restaurants.

Lake Minnewaska
I was out on my kayak right there in the middle

This is what I called the La Grande Hotel.  Can't you just imagine it in the days of its glory?  The hike was only a mile or so but it was all up hill.  Beyond the hotel there was a fire tower I wanted to make it to but as you can see my boots weren't up for the challenge.  Can't blame them.  Had those Lowe's for at least 15 years they had to blow out some time and they blew out without possibility of repair.  On the way home from the hike I stopped at Kenco sporting goods and asked the boot guy if he thought they could be repaired.  He sort of just looked at me and said, "I don't think so."  I knew that but we laughed.  Bought another pair of Lowe's spending more than I wanted but you can't underestimate a good pair of boots.
Boots with a view. Hmm. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

On The Road Again

 I am completely embarrassed. My last entry was in April 2012 and I apologize for not keeping you up to date on my progress.  However, that is it for my remorse because I am on the road and having a GREAT time!  All the work, and tears, and detours, and doubts as to my sanity have been well worth it.  I am meeting people, making friends and having new experiences every single day.  Yet, I leave behind dear friends in Nashville that I will never forget.  I miss you all very much and think of you often.  Hugs and kisses to you.

You already know the Pork Chop took longer to finish than I expected, far longer than the 6 weeks I had initially thought.  A lot of life happened in between then and now and so as I continue on my travels I will mix in the pictures and video of the restoration of the trailer along with the more current adventures.

Here are some exterior pictures of the finished Pork Chop but let me tell you, there is far more to the story than meets the eye but we'll save that for later. Quite a difference huh?  I'll get back to you soon with more but until then---

                                                                               Safe Travels