Life on the Open Road

Life on the Open Road

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Easy Dip Recipe for On the Go

I've got a post coming up called, "Food for the Fridgeless" and today I'm sharing a simple, fast, and easy recipe for a homemade dip. I like to pair it with a bag of steamable vegetables- washed and ready to eat veggies that come in a bag for steaming but I buy to eat raw.

This recipe is great for traveling as it's quick to prepare and doesn't need to be kept in the fridge. It can be made fresh as a single serving, just stop at a grocery instead of eating take out or at a restaurant.

Raw washed and ready to be eaten fresh vegetables.

one plain Greek yogurt cup
dried parsley
your favorite seasoning
a dash of sea salt, if you like or your seasoning choice is salt free

My spices of choice. The sea salt isn't necessary with the Florida Sunshine containing salt already but when I make this with dill and parsley, I like to add sea salt, too. 

I use Florida Sunshine from The Spice and Tea Exchange (no ad, it's just a favorite!) You could also use a soup mix or bullion. Dried dill works fantastically as well. The idea is, any seasoning you like that can be kept on hand that is shelf stable.

Directions: Stir in the seasoning to taste. I suggest starting with about a teaspoon and adding more if you desire, then adding some parsley and the salt if you want to.

Tada! The finished dip. 
Since this is a single serving, you can vary it depending on your preferences. I like using yogurt because the cup is easy to dip the veggies, crackers, chips, pretzels or whatever else you like in it and I like that yogurt has probiotics, what are generally considered to be healthy bacteria, in it. A variation on this is plain kefir which I've also used when I've made it with dill. It is a bit thinner and better with a fridge because the serving size of kefir is often larger. I really like both of these options as they are just as easy as buying a ready made dip yet without fillers or other added ingredients and you can make it your own, too. Yummy!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Keeping Records and Five Suggestions for Checking Out a Previously Owned RV Before Buying

I am the second owner of my current RV and I bought this one at a dealership where the original owners, a couple, traded in and upgraded to a newer one. I am incredibly grateful that they kept such wonderful records! I have the original pouch, service manuals, warranties, and more including highlighted parts relevant to this particular RV and the Dodge chassis book filled in with what work was done and when per the recommended schedule. This couple put a lot of miles on it at around 144,000 and clearly took excellent care of it. When I bought it, people looked inside and said it appeared new and it did. Under the hood, the engine looked amazing, too. It still looks good with full-timing!

One pouch filled with all the documents for both RV and chassis.

I have continued to keep records in the booklet as well as noting what has been repaired, upgraded, and so on for myself and the next owner as well. I think this is a fantastic thing to do and it really shows how a quality vehicle can be well used and maintained to go for miles and miles. I'm at around 168,000+ miles now and there is no doubt this thing can go for so many more.

I've had routine oil changes and tire rotations every 3,000 and 6,000 or so miles respectively. Recently, I had an inspection which showed me I didn't actually need to do this quite as early as I had been so just today, at closer to but under 5,000 miles(what this service facility recommended to me as I was paying), I went to a Quick Lane for an oil change, tire rotation, brake check, and inspection. It went very well and I was told the technician was impressed with how good shape it is in at nearly 160,000 miles. Well, they had actually noted the miles incorrectly by 8,000 so just imagine how good it'd look to them had they noticed that! :) I take a lot of pride in taking good care of it. I had been simply keeping my receipts together with the pouch and the other day I went through them, updated the booklet so it was all in one place, and cleared out what I didn't feel needed to be kept.

The chassis manual has a maintenance schedule in it. It was easy to follow along the previous owner's notes and add my own.
With this I know, for example, that the previous owner did a transmission flush at however many miles. I know that I had the brake fluid flushed so even if an oil change shows it in the yellow ( I've seen that "green, yellow, red" are on the inspection sheet for "good, may need future attention, requires attention"), I am actually good to go for a long time. I know that when a free brake check told me numbers that didn't match up to the ones I had from a recent oil change, I was able to get a second opinion (another free brake check at a different shop) that confirmed they were fine. While I don't have all the service receipts from the previous owners, the sales rep told me it had relatively new brakes which I have the warranty information on as well as having recently had a few thousands of dollars worth of work with a new head gasket! The dealership I bought it from had also serviced and checked everything and had installed a brand new air conditioning before selling it.

Through RVs more than anything, I've learned a lot about vehicles, how they work, how to maintain them, and basic repairs. I personally find keeping these records reassuring and useful and know that the next owner of this RV, especially if a newbie or fulltimer, will appreciate having them, too. It's easy enough and I totally recommend it!

Tying into the above, here are five suggestions for what to check before you buy if you're buying a previously owned RV from a dealer or private seller:

1.      Check if the warranties for any work are transferable to you as the new owner. Some are and some are not.
2.      Check the age of the tires, not just the look of them.
3.  If you are buying from a private seller, you may want to pay for a general inspection at a shop you like first or bring a knowledgeable person along with you to inspect it yourself.
4.      You may also want to take it for a wash to inspect for leaks. Go to a manual wash, not a drive through car wash and be careful not to scratch it or spray water directly into the vents like the furnace or AC vents and such.
5.      Drive it. Some people and places need you to be very serious about it in order to test drive. When I sold my first RV, I asked to see a license and was surprised that one person came, looked a few minutes, and left without even asking to start it. He later made me an offer I didn't take him up on. It is totally fine to go through and make sure it sounds good, looks good, things work, etc. Any honest seller will not take issue with this and might even encourage it.

I have been surprised that some dealerships charge for showing you that all systems work. If you want to pay for that and would feel more confident with it, it is good to know how to use it properly. I think you can look a lot of things up online, in the manual, and use common sense if they won't just show you the unit and answer your questions. It's up to you to decide how comfortable you feel about this.

Free workshops at RV centers can be great, too and you usually don't need to own an RV yet. Even as a second RV owner, I have attended some of the basics and found them interesting. In one case I was the only one who showed up so we did a private walk through of my own RV, reviewing systems, talking about various care for it, and I was even given a few freebies like a new fresh tank filter and advice from the skilled technician.

RVers tend to be super friendly people who are excited to exchange information with you. There are forums online, clubs, groups of various kinds- all sorts of ways to connect, ask questions, and so on. Having an idea of what to look for both in records and pre-buying inspections is useful for the miles and miles you'll go!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Three Things on My Mind: Confidence and Knowing

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." 

~ Henry Ford (I have seen slight variations of the quote and like this one.)

"She believed she could, so she did." 

~ while this quote is attributed to few or many, depending, I like to give credit to Shel Silverstein from the poem, "Melinda Mae" though the idea is there, less the precise wording. 

And also from Shel is this poem:

The Voice 

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you- just listen to 
The voice that speaks inside. 

All of these came to mind and I thought I would share them as well as have them here for myself to refer back to. 

Sometimes action is easy and clear- "the next logical step"- and sometimes it feels like a "yes" or a "no," both of which lead us one way or another. Sometimes it's a matter of picking something when various choices would feel good. Always it's a matter of choosing how you feel regardless. 

Happy Trails to You

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Best Beach Walk EVER: in words

I began walking left of the pier, my feet in the water as I passed the crowds and headed toward the more open beach. I had music playing and was, as usual, walking in time with it. 

I saw birds. So many small birds that flew together in a way that was amazing to me, in such a big flock and moving very fast that they were almost unnoticeable. I noticed though and I watched as they swirled around. 

I kept walking and swiftly went up to dry sand as a very long turquoise colored jellyfish came up to shore. I'd been seeing a lot of them here and was just talking about them a bit sooner. It didn't surprise me that I'd then see another one and I knew I was safe. 

I continued walking then looked back to see if the couple behind me would stop to look at the jellyfish, too. They didn't, that I saw. They actually appeared to walk right by. There are so many things in the world that so many of us see and so many of us do not. 

I was enjoying the walk and kept going farther down the beach. A motorized vehicle of some sort went by and a woman on it waved to me. I took a moment then waved back, perhaps too late for her to see. Oh well. I briefly wondered if they'd want to give me a ride back. I had not walked this far down before. I was fine though and knew I could keep going. 

Flipping through my music on my phone, I suddenly looked up. A crab! It was like we were just people in passing, paying no mind until I paid attention and jumped back a bit. That immediately got the crab up on its legs, watching me. I moved, it turned to follow and keep watch. We both walked some. It went down, then back up as I got closer. I asked it how fast it can run. It was white and yellow. I was unafraid and ultimately walked onto the dry sand and went on my way. I made a mental note of how crabs are like tarantulas of the ocean. They have some similarities. 

I saw a bulldozer type vehicle and tracks from it. They are clearing land or something nearby, I suppose. It is part of the state park, as far as I know. I rolled my sleeves up onto my shoulders and kept walking more on dry sand. 

A couple of people had come to the end of the beach before a turn and I veered left to turn and see what was around the corner. I'm not sure what part of the city it is but I had a sense of it. I also noticed a pretty blue bottle or glass of some sort in pieces, partially smoothed and thought, the beginning of sea glass

I turned around and found myself running and I liked it! It was easy to run and felt good and my breath was so easy. I looked back to see the difference in my foot prints from walking and running. Earlier I was pondering if one could recognize her own footprints in the sand. There is that expression of knowing something like the back of your hand. Would I know my own footprints? I think I would, if I paid more attention. It also brought to mind leaving footprints in the sands of time and how I'd like to leave both footprints and butt prints in the sands of time. I rarely sit at the beach; I walk. 
As I returned to the corner I saw that the couple were now naked and entering the water. They had ventured far from most others and maybe it made even more sense why. I kept my distance and gave them their space. They were having fun entering the waves. I know they looked at me as I went by and I'm decidedly for skinny dipping, nude beaches, and doing whatever you like, really. They had tan lines. He in particular was quite white(she was already in the water more by the time I got back around to them) and this is actually how I first realized they were nude. I laughed and smiled as I continued on. Funny, happy moments and what an eventful walk this was! Rather different than my more common ones. I liked it! 

I ran some more and it felt good. I found myself walking on the thin center sand within the tire tracks of the bulldozer path. How fun, I thought, as I had simply begun doing it because it was fun and I was inspired to that action, then realized it. It reminded me of kids and my niece who will move so easily from one fun activity in the moment to the next. It flows. This was flow. I was flowing. 

I saw something near the water and got closer. A dead seagull. Newly dead, beautiful, not yet drenched. The water came up to it but not enough yet to take it in. I thought to it, You'll be ok/fine and then added right away, You already are. Briefly I sent out an intention and request for greater peace with something. I kept walking. 

I got a text message from someone I wasn't expecting and figured I felt good, so replied. Clarity and fun and ok ness. A recent message from a dream I had woken to a couple of mornings ago now made more sense. 

More people were around again. Many had left and tide was rising. The moon was up and the sun was setting. I looked at the color reflecting on the white of the waves and had felt like it was so beautiful, I could cry. I didn't. I just loved the beauty of it and the beholding of this moment and realization. I was smiling. I must have been. 

I smiled at a woman as we passed each other and she smiled at me. I saw some young folks who had been building something earlier now getting covered by water. They took the high flag they'd had up and were walking with it into the water, saying or singing something. I had my music playing still and mostly ignored their words. I liked the song I was listening to and the harmonies in it. So lovely. 

Someone else smiled and said hello to me as we passed by. I picked up a large feather and then a little one for my cat. As I climbed the steps to get back to the parking lot, I jumped down and think that is when one flew out of my pocket. I still had the little one and gave it to her. 

I went to wash my feet of the sand and saw young adults in the splash fountain having fun. I then saw a bird on the top of it also having fun. Which reminds me of watching a seagull scratch its head with a foot while in the water. I loved that. And I saw a dog rolling around on its back in the sand and smiled. I am a big cat lover and yet happy dogs at the beach? I still smile at that. 

Now I am back in the RV. I have pictures and video from this beach walk which I am deeming the best beach walk ever. I know the feeling of flow and this was the first time I ever felt it like this here and so easily, strongly, and purely. The lightness, in the moment, playful, easy, fun. This is what alignment feels like. This is what playing in life feels like. This is what feeling good feels like. 

It's a picture-less post intentionally. Words can paint a picture and the feelings, the feelings are the best part. Maybe it appears as if nothing changed during this time yet I know for certain a lot changed for me with it. I stepped onto the sidewalk in the parking lot from the sand to the concrete and I looked out at the big, beautiful sun setting across the way and had this feeling, the kind where I knew everything was about to change. Everything was about the change and in really good ways. I was ready. This felt so good. 

The best beach walk ever is the best beach walk yet.