Hold onto your hat!I promised in the last blog that I had a "new exciting (and ongoing!) adventure" coming up. Now it has "come up" and is definitely "ongoing," and I am finding it absorbing, sometimes scary, eye-opening, work-intensive, and very satisfying. And that's why this blog is so long in coming.
I hereby introduce (TADA!) Mouse, my 22' new-to-me but middle-aged 1985 Toyota Mini-Motorhome! Here she is in my yard, undergoing some serious loving care ~ cleaning, mending, upgrading, repairing....everything you can imagine from re-upholstering the couch to replacing the propane stove, removing the CB radio, re-laying the floor, rescreening the inner door, redoing the curtains, repairing the outer door....actually, I looked up some synonyms for the word replace and I'll let you take your pick.
|The new addition to my sketching adventure|
alter, change, displace, fill in, mend, oust, patch, put back, reconstitute, recover, redress, reestablish, regain, reinstate, restore, retrieve, shift, sit in, stand in, substitute, succeed, supplant, supply, swap places, take out, take over....etc.
You get the idea.
Why, you ask, did I take on this humongous project? Because this is My New Traveling Sketching Studio. My plan is to take Mouse out adventuring with my sketchbook for a week at a time (that's all Jesse-cat can comfortably handle all alone at home without a house-sitter) and make sketchbooks like these.
|Good new floor|
|Bad old floor|
The floor replacement was necessary because Mouse received some water damage over previous years. Almost ALL old RVs have water damage, but her particleboard floor had gotten particularly wet, and wet particleboard swells, so the floor had bulges and waves high enough to either trip you or make you seasick. (Well, not quite, but hey....) So we spent several days cutting, measuring, gluing, nailing (I learned how to use a nailgun), staining molding, etc., and now it is vastly improved.
My brother has a print shop, and while I was there I had him print up a few copies of my latest sketch journals, the South African Sketching Safari from last summer and my most recent sketching trip near Tucson, AZ, just last Christmas. Saguaro Sketch Journal. I won't be selling these as print versions but they're available from my website as downloads if you're interested.
|The desk swivels on a metal post.|
|The desk, swung out of the way.|
|My plan for new chair at new desk|
However, I did have two blowouts and subsequent tows to the nearest tire shops. Luckily, both blowouts happened within 15 miles of a tire store, and I have determined that the tires probably popped because they're at least 15-20 years old. But I was lucky that each blowout was one of two dual tires on each side, so I didn't even feel it (I sure HEARD it though! BANG!).
|Mouse gets a ride to the tire store.|
So.... Is Mousie serving her avowed purpose? Well, judge for yourself. I camped overnight, both coming and going to Idaho, at Chickahominy Reservoir out in the desert near Burns, Oregon. It was only $4/night with my Golden Age Pass. Here are some notes out of my journal, and a little sketch I made at my campsite while eating my dinner cooked in Mouse's little kitchen:
"...As I sat, enjoying the desert breeze and watching the stripe-winged night-hawks dip and soar overhead, my eye caught a flicker of movement in the rocks directly in front of me. Out from behind a boulder popped a Long-tailed Weasel (hey, weasels really DO pop!) which skittered, snaky-long, between, around, under and over the rocks, hunting for whatever it is that weasels desire for dinner. One scarcely EVER sees a weasel, and I got to watch it hunting for three or four minutes before a pair of red-winged blackbirds began diving and harassing it until it flicked off over the edge."
|Chickahominy Reservoir in central Oregon|
|Not a pretty sight ~ this tear is 5" long.|
|Sunset at Chickahominy Reservoir|
I've learned a lot on this trip, and I am totally enthusiastic about my new wheely-home. Later on I plan to head for either the mountains near Crater Lake or over to the Pacific coast for a week of sketching and journaling. Or maybe just being lazy. But I need to replace the front tires first. If a front tire blew, it possibly could run me off the road. I don't need that!
|Jesse on Mouse's couch.|
I'd love it if he could come with me, but he's a scaredy-cat and freaks out when he sees scenery galloping past the windows. Alas....
So, until next time ~ and I'll try to not bore you with RV stories when you're expecting sketch-journaling words.