A New Year!

Catching up on one’s blog is difficult. Just how much do we share, how many photos can we put up without overloading the site (and you!)? Guess we’ll just start fresh and show you our life as it is today.

Meet The Dip!
Our little tin box (aka the Snow Coach, a 25 foot travel trailer) has given way to our new home – a 40’ Monaco Diplomat. The Dip will be our home for the next nine months (or more if we decide to sell the Gresham house). Transition is the keyword for this year…..

So far, 2011 has found us working in Joshua Tree NP, Death Valley NP, and Grand Teton NP. We also found time to return to Glen Canyon NRA to photograph the NPS firefighter training course. A year is not complete without a visit with our friends at Grand Canyon (they always find projects for us to work on!).

We had a short stay in Gresham – had to get those doctor appointments in – and we’re off again. A stop in Healdsburg, CA with our dear friend Keron Psillas (www.keronpsillas.com) at Barbier Farms found us helping with their Fall Dressage Symposium. Keron and Dominique Barbier’s new book – Meditation for Two will be available through Amazon this week! Congratulations!!

Next stop – Rocky Mountain National Park. We’re working our way there now. Those of you who know us, know we’ve been developing emergency services plans for our National Parks over the past two plus years. We’ve become deeply involved at the park and national levels, developing a national template for structural fire planning and we’re in the process of developing a remote planning tool for assisting parks without our being on site. Three parks are in “test” mode now – War in the Pacific NHP (Guam), American Memorial Park (Saipan), and Rocky Mountain. We’ll be stopping in Rocky to validate the process.

The transition from the little trailer to the luxury of a 40’ motorhome comes with some interesting trials. First, the trailer was 27 feet and weighed just over 5,000 pounds. The Dip weighs 33,000 and is 61 feet long with the car on the back. Bottom line: it’s a truck, not a car! Second, it is a complex piece of machinery… So, here are a few things that we’ve learned along the journey (a little tongue-in-cheek).

1) The brakes work very well – had a farmworker stop suddenly… didn’t hit him… Hmm, what’s that hot brake smell?
2) We can pump sewage a long distance – parked next to a house in a vineyard for 12 days and actually pumped our sewage 20 feet into their septic system. Thankfully, there were NO spills…
3) We have rearranged the compartments twice and, what the heck, might as well do it again…
4) We can ignore those road signs that say “Trucks Restricted, nothing over 30’ from kingpin to axle” and “No Trucks over 65’” – However, my arms get really tired turning the wheel and Karen has to take Xanax to keep from screaming…
5) The water pump doesn’t work well when you run out of water, however, it was easy to replace and cost $115 in Winnemucca (at least I won that on the craps table…)
6) The breaker for the house outlets can be overloaded… The service tech on the Monaco helpline chuckled when he told me that the breaker for that circuit was on the inverter and not in the house breaker panel. (I overlooked that in the owner’s manual…)
7) A 13’ high by 40’ long solid area that is held up to the wind actually makes a really good sail. What lane were we supposed to be driving in?

Stay tuned for more adventures in The Dip!

About rkcaton

We like to travel and even spent nine years roaming around North America in a 40 foot motorhome. We're now back in a home in Washington state roaming by car, air, and boat.
This entry was posted in National Park Service, Photography, Volunteer. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A New Year!

  1. honey lazar says:

    dear dippers,

    here i am in the big apple with streets of honking cars and little room for a dip! i love the city that never sleeps, but i found reading your blog about your life of service in our national parks to be alluring to the point of making me wistful for open space and beauty. thank you for letting me travel with you from an armchair with a smile. delicious way to begin my day….well…except for the sewage detail!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s