Friday, September 30, 2011

Up In The Air

Quick post as life is coming at me pretty rapidly here.  I have a defense date: October 15 at 2 PM – two short weeks from today!!! 

RV news:  we took a day off yesterday and drove over 2 hours to the nearest Camping World.  Time precludes me from writing much more than to say “WOW”!!!  I’ve never been to CW before and had a fabulous time running from model to model inside and out.  In fact, I was so busy window shopping the rigs I didn’t buy one thing on my list.  But I learned a lot yesterday. 

Prior to visiting CW, we checked out a 2007 Casitafor for sale by a consignment dealer.  It was the same model as I have ordered, good condition, & reasonably priced.  However, it doesn’t have a furnace, outside shower, or high-lift axle.  Also the owners had done some mods I didn’t care for – the worst of which was replacing the mini-blinds with dark green blackout curtains that roll back in a way that, at best, cuts out about 60% of the window views.  Not a good move in such a small space. Yes, I could fix that, but decided ultimately I don’t want to. 

I’m also having trouble shopping for a tow vehicle and it’s not all due to time issues.  The TV would be used only for towing as we both have cars that we love and want to drive till they take our licenses away.  Who knew that it’s NO FUN shopping for a car you don’t really want. 

At CW, I looked at a 2007 B+ (the very RV I started out wanting in the floor plan I adore – rear kitchen).  The Holiday Rambler Augusta was a really clean unit reasonably priced and would be perfect for 1 and sometimes 2.  It is pretty much perfect.  I probably would have made an offer on it except for one insurmountable issue – the only bed (a jackknife sofa) is a measly 68” long.  That size will just fit someone 5’8”.  And even then it would be a squeeze.  We calculated you would have to be 5’6” to be able to stretch out to sleep.  What were the designers thinking?  The dinette bed had the same dimensions.  I’m 5’10”, John is 6’0.  Sigh.    

2007 Holiday Rambler Augusta 235S with 21,000 miles

The Microscopic Sofa/Bed

So the RV search continues to evolve.  No one is more surprised than I am as I thought it was all settled with the Casita.  I'm not usually this indecisive.  But it's a bit of a relief to know that I don’t have to rush to leave for the Casita factory the day after graduation and make the long trek home by myself as I take that crash course in towing/hitching/backing etc…

Anyway, there is a lot going on right now and I’ll have to rethink all my travel plans.  But not for a couple of weeks. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

More Bacon Bits

Is the world ready for another bacon post?  Let's see. 

You know, they say that keeping a personal journal promotes reflection.  In this way we gain insight into our very souls. 

Apparently my soul is preoccupied with bacon.  More specifically, my soul wants to find a convenient, non-messy, simple solution for bacon access on the road.  The last documented experiment was with the Hormel Microwavable Bacon.  But thanks to a comment on that post by Anonymous, I decided to give the Hormel Fully-Cooked bacon a go. 



The biggest advantage: it's about 1/2 the cost of the microwavable version.  It's also more economical for 1 because you can remove as many pieces as you need rather than the 4 slices-or-nothing packaging of the microwavable.  I placed 2 slices between 2 paper towels and nuked them for 20 seconds. 


BLT. Extra mayo, please!

Another big advantage is that if you don't have shore power, you can heat it and crisp it up in a skillet.  And, should you have no self-control whatsoever, you can eat it right out of the package!  Both versions were equally tasty.   Thanks Anonymous!

Now I can move onto other issues such as finding a tow vehicle - which I hope to accomplish in the next six weeks or so. 

Dissertation progress - the modest yet monumental work of unparalleled genius is currently with the outside reader who will pass her judgment along to the graduate school sometime next week. 

Research in its dormant state

After that, a date will be set for the final defense.  I'm in the midst of preparing the presentation now. 

Speaking of which, I hope I put up a better defense than our Auburn Tigers are at the moment.  As I write this, I am watching us lose to Clemson in the 4th quarter 35-24.  It's been a long time since we lost a game.  Not that we will.  We seem to prefer dramatic tension-riddled come-from-behind wins.  

Oh well, War Eagle!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Countdown Clock Hits A Wormhole!

And five days evaporated.  It would have been down to double-digits on Sunday; an event I was going to mark and celebrate. 

But events have taken a turn and suddenly I'm at 95 days .  The clock started at 400+ days in 2010.   

Here's what happened.  My original factory delivery date was 12/19, a week after graduation.  The factory ceases operation for 2 weeks for the Xmas holidays.  My salesperson, Carla, and I talked about this way back in June when I placed my order.  As it turns out, she had the dates wrong and the factory actually closes 1 week earlier.  I found this out yesterday by accident through a post on the Casita forum.  A quick call to the factory confirmed this was the case so I had to re-think my plans.

Deck the Halls and Stop Production!  Fa-La-La-La-La .....

Now I had 2 options 1) pick-up in December and miss my graduation ceremony or 2) wait until January 3rd to pick-up.  After discussing it with DH last night, I opted for #1.  I guess the ceremony is really not that big of a deal.  Plus those gowns make you look fat!!! 

See?  Even this Size 0 model looks rotund!

I also really want to be in Austin near Xmas to be with my buddy Sharon and her family.  And there is a gathering of about 30 Casitans around New Years Eve at Brazos Bend State Park in TX.  This park is home to the University of Houston's 3 observatories.  Nuff said!   

And as a bonus Larry, a celebrity in the Casita world, will be there.  Larry owns LittleHouse Customs and can hopefully accomplish a few mods to the trailer.  For example, I know I want to replace the factory faucet with a high-rise model.  It should be both fun and instructional to be surrounded by all those egg veterans.  I expect it will also be a good primer for my trip to Quartzsite in February. 

The high-rise faucet helps compensate for the itsy-bitsy sink.  I'm guessing that knife is from the Norman Bates Collection.

New pickup date = 12/14/11.  So my Texas trip is shaping up to last 3 weeks instead of 2 but ..... I've got time.  Ahhhhh, time.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Road Prep: The Hormel Bacon Edition

I got the idea for trying this product from the FiberglassRV forum.  It sounded like a great solution for on-the-road quick bacon with minimal clean-up.  It also sounded too good to be true.  There are 4 slices per plastic-wrapped package that you place in the microwave.  Then press the button just like Jane Jetson. 

We tried it this afternoon with BLTs.  Sorry, no photos - they went quick.  I don't think there is a shutter speed fast enough to have captured it. 

The end result was indeed quick, yummy, and surprisingly crispy.  Bonus: clean-up was non-existent.  Try that with your standard cast-iron-skillet approach.  With shore power, I'm set for the kind of hearty breakfast I love (indoors or out).

In other news, the Weber gas grill experiment continues. 

In my earlier post, I neglected to show how compactly the grill folds up for travel

Friday night I fired the Go-Anywhere up and cooked up some 1" thick pork chops (with Grillmaster John close at hand of course).  Getting the timing right was tricky but I think that's just the art and nature of successful grilling.  We both agree, however, that charcoal wins the taste category outright.  However, propane takes the blue ribbon for convenience

I have a whole new respect for food photographers.  This dish may not look very appetizing as photographed but you're just going to have to trust me - it was fabulous!  BTW, we really like Bogle Zinfandel with grilled pork.  And it's sensational with bar-b-que anything.  The price is right too at about $11 or $12 a bottle. 

Chop, french bread, and John's most excellent risotto

Speaking of food, today John is trying out his new triple-loaf baguette pan from King Arthur Flour.  He is experimenting to find the best size and shape.  I'd say it's a successful start to a long and satisfying relationship.  And we haven't even bitten through that golden crunchy crust yet!

Must dash, it's cocktail hour. 

Happy Labor Day everyone!