Sunday, August 19, 2012

WTF!!! (Wonderful Treasure Find!) #29

What a weekend!

Thursday night  we loaded the van with a gazillion water bottles filled with water that we salvaged/saved/recycled from various places.  (Thanks Darlene, Janet, Bill and all the other nice folks who have been giving us their bottles!!!) 

We left early on Friday to beat rush hour through Denver and got up to the land by about 6:00pm. It's a nice easy drive when you don't have to fight traffic!  Getting an early start let us actually start work that evening. So we built this:

 A nice little Hexayurt / Gazebo (Hexebo?) for shade.


Another benefit of leaving early:

Unfortunately the fires are still raging somewhere over the horizon, but the upside is awesome sunsets.  Silver lining and all that. 

After assembling our shade, we made a campfire, had a beer and went to bed.  (Note from the wife: don't bother trying the Budweiser Lima-a-rita - tastes nasty, though it does have a high alcohol content....)

 The next morning, we got busy.  The result:

 We connected more of the door to the outer wall
(The darker brown is what we accomplished on Saturday.)

 We also plastered some more on the outer wall and added some papercrete bricks to hide the wood box that holds our firewood.  The wife's been having fun experimenting with being an amature bricklayer  :)

The kitchen from the top of the berm in front of the van:

And from on top of the opposing wall:

We had to paint part of the Hexebo so it wouldn't be quite so visible from the road - a big, white, floating roof would invite too many rubberneckers. 
Now, it blends in soooo much better!

We got so much done that for the first time, we ran out of cement for the wall long before we ran out of water and bottles.  Thankfully, we'll never run out of dirt.  (Psst - wanna buy some genuine Wyoming dirt?  Have I got a deal for you!)

Since we were so focused on work, we didn't finish the cement we had onsite until after the hardware store was closed for the weekend.   So.... we organized our stuff, made another (BIG!) fire to protect the wife from coyotes, had some more beers and went to bed at dark.  Tired, sore and a little chilly - the nights are starting to cool down again - yay!

Sunday morning, the sun woke us up way early.  Since we were up, we camoflage painted the hexayurt.  After that, we didn't have much else that could get done in the little time we had left, so we packed up the last few things and left early.  Since we had time, we decided to come back the long way through the Mountains.  That drive's got some beautiful scenery and along the way we had some WTFs:

Cute tiny house in Saratoga, Wyoming

Cool Geodesic Dome house just outside of Cowdry, Colorado

Rand Colorado Population: 7 or 8 (probably)  
There are no large bodies of water within 1500 miles....

Sign on the Yacht Club window

Sign on the house next to the Yacht Club.

The folks of Rand (all 5 of them) have a sense of humor...or something.

Rand's local constabulary?

Side note:
Traffic on I-70 is stupid just after you get on past Empire, CO because people have never seen a zip line before.  It totally slows things down, so be warned.  Also, the bathrooms at the Safeway in Idaho Springs are in serious need of repair and cleaning.  The store itself is nice and looks to be recently remodeled.  Now their facilities are in need of some TLC.  Just saying.  (The wife here:  they still have nothing on the bathrooms in the train station in Prague!)

Monday, August 6, 2012

#28 Requiem for a ground squirrel...

So, we took off right after work on Friday and got up to Rawlins at about 9:30pm.  Not too bad considering the traffic on I-25 going North through Denver.

Anyway, it was pretty windy in Rawlins and it smelled like a BBQ.  Apparently the Seminoe and Ferris wild fires  (caused by the lightening strikes 2 weeks ago - see previous post!)were still in full swing and the smoke was rather heavy; so much so that there was a warning sign on the highway leading out to the Great Divide Basin of reduced visibility due to smoke.

No kidding!  As we came over the Continental Divide, it looked like the fog had rolled in, and as we drove out on our road, it was like driving through a cloud.

On the upside, this is what the moon looked like:

Mostly full and deep orange.  The pic doesn't do it justice.

Anyway, we got on the property and unloaded a few things so we could settle in and have stuff ready to go in the morning for stuccoing the outer kitchen wall...

Which brings us to this poor critter:

We found this little guy in one of our water buckets when we got up Saturday morning.  Apparently he had jumped in and the small amount of water in the bucket was just enough to stop him from jumping back out and also just enough to drown him.  : ( 
Sorry Mr. Squirrel. 

We've started covering any buckets that have water in them if we leave them out overnight.  No more wildlife deaths by misadventure.


One of the things we were anxious to see was how well Jeff's under-bed storage frame would work out.

Essentially it's a captain's bed made of slotted plywood assembled into sections with a top for the bed to rest on.  We'd hoped that would help organize our stuff and lift the bed up about a foot, giving us better visibility out the windows at night.

It worked fabulously!  Really comfy, kept our stuff organized, and it can be taken apart in about 5 min with no tools and can be stored along side any bigger stuff we need to cram in.

Other notes of note:

The flies were TERRIBLE this time.  They were all over the place and we had a hard time keeping them off of us and out of the van.  In fact, they seemed to loooove the van - there were swarms all over the outsides all. the. time.  Yuck.  And Bitey.  Ouch.

When the smoke finally cleared out in the middle of the night, the full moon lit up the landscape in such a way that you could literally read a book outside.  Surreal.

We spent a lot of time and energy plastering the walls, so our progress was largely invisible; other than to us.

Here's a butterfly that the wife almost stepped on:

And some handprints:

Overall a good trip.  We used up all of our H2O, all of our cement and all of our bottles.  Covered a great deal of the wall.  And still got back pretty early.  And stayed productive even when we got home.

Can't wait until next time!