Friday, July 26, 2013

Road Brew Redo

 Forever in search of a better cup of coffee, I got a new gadget last week.


I first heard about the method in this post on Glenn’s blog To Simplify. 

I have been using the Melitta cone in the GDB and blogged about it 2 years ago when I first ordered and experimented with it.  It works well but, after using it on the road for over 100 mornings, I have to say it ain’t perfect. 

The problem is that the boiled water is poured directly over the grounds and is filtered immediately into the cup.  Naturally this makes for a weaker brew than anyone likes.  I’ve been compensating by using probably 50% more coffee grounds than normal.   Glenn had the same complaint. 
However, this product is designed so that the grounds actually steep before being filtered into the cup.  Note: I ordered the small version – perfect for my customary 8 oz. cuppa.  I tested it this past week and was pleased. 

Steep for 4 minutes


The flavor is, not surprisingly, more robust than the Melitta's and requires less coffee.  The new gizmo also meets the requirements of being easy to clean, easy to store, easy to use. 
Regarding the office space I wrote about last week, I came up with an alternative arrangement based on your comments about table set-ups that jogged my memory.  I have a built-in table!  I rarely use it, so I never think of it.   Geez, you wouldn’t think I’d overlook anything in such a small space but .... I managed.   

I guess this beats the plastic bin.  I look forward to trying it out! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Home-Away-From-Home Office

I can work anywhere!

I’ve been giving my office set-up some thought in preparation for my online teaching debut that will be combined with a 3-week road trip come September.   But I don’t think it will be difficult to get all this

into this

I admire this set-up below but don’t have that much space to work with. 
My Roadtrek 190, with its minimal storage capacity, provides 6 x 14 feet of office space.  But really, that's OK.  Keeping it simple is appealing. 
So I’ve winnowed down to the essential carry-ons.

This magic gizmo makes it all possible.  Smaller than a deck of cards, it brings you the world. 

By Steri-Lite.   Doubles as storage


Enough room for computer and books.

Office supplies

Course material notebook

Paige Bridges sent me this postcard the last time I bought one of her vintage RV paintings.

I’ll have frequent need of a printer.  I have to have hard copies to grade papers.  I will then transfer my comments into the student’s submitted Word document and return it for revision.   I thought about getting a wireless printer but ….where would I put it? 
So I’ve decided to transfer papers to a smart stick and take it to a FedEx or Staples for printing.  If I discover I absolutely need a printer, I can store the printer where my cereal stash is and stop eating breakfast or something. 
I love it already!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Good Deal School Bus

Chevy University
It’s official!  My online teaching career begins September 2!   My debut term will include two courses – pathophysiology and pharmacology.

My goal is simple: combine two things I love - teaching and traveling.  This exciting prospect, first glimpsed a year ago, is about to become a reality.   It’s been a looooong process.  I first interviewed for this position in October!  I never thought it would take almost a year to receive my first paycheck.

As John recently pointed out, the delay was in my favor as I spent the hiatus learning an important skill – how to make long trips in the GDB.  He’s right.  Owning, operating, and living in an RV is an education in itself, as you know.  Oh, but what fun!  

From the mountains

Rocky Mountain National Park

To the prairies

Homestead National Monument, NE

To the oceans, white with foam

Canaveral National Seashore, FL

I’m sure my scheme is completely doable.  For example, I know now that I can stop anywhere I need to and spend a few hours (or days, as the case may be) grading papers.  The work will slow me down some – just how much remains to be seen.  But, hey, if I can work in the morning and hike a glacier in the afternoon, I’m a happy camper! 

Once I figure out what I'm doing, my long-range plans include writing about my experiences for other faculty.  I suspect that many academics, weary of the relentless, often vicious, politics and grinding workloads, will want to hear what I have to say.   I'm sure to get some manuscripts and conference presentations out of this whole big adventure.  Perhaps a book. 
I may eventually teach for other online colleges but, for now, I want to keep it simple.  Speaking of keeping it simple, I’ll share how I’m organizing my little office-on-wheels in another post. 

Roll On! 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Looking Backwards and Forwards

Here are a few miscellaneous photos from my recent Badlands/Rocky Mountain trip. 

World's smallest?

Jacqueline atop Jackalope

Drive-in somewhere in South Dakota

1930's Park Ranger counting buffalo.  I was doing the same thing the day before.

What a great time! 

The financials were disappointing.  I traveled 5,292 miles in 5 weeks and spent an average of $268 a week.  Too much!!!  The goal was the spend $225 per week or less.  I only spent $106 on 6 nights for hook-ups, so it’s obvious what the culprit was.  You guessed it ….

Still can’t figure out why regular costs more than premium in the middle of America.

Gasoline accounted for 89% of my travel costs. 
The solution is simple – I need to drive less. 

As a result, rather than going to the southern Utah National Parks this fall as planned, I’ll visit Washington D.C. sometime after Labor Day.  By mid-September, my online teaching job will be underway and I can hit the road.   

As many times as I’ve visited Monument City, there is much I haven’t seen, for example   

And I want to spend a lot of time at the National Archives.

In the meantime, I've leapt irrevocably into our long-needed kitchen remodel project.  We will be tearing everything out from the 30-year old space (with original appliances) and starting from scratch. 

The plans are almost finalized and the cabinets will be ordered next week.  However, it may take up to a month for the install to happen. 

I’m excited about the impending birth of the new kitchen. I’ll post before-and-after shots when all is completed. 

Until then, there is not much to blog about.  Perhaps I can squeeze in a short trip or two between now and September. 
I’ll let you know!