Looking for a simpler life, but not too simple…

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Carlsbad Caverns

We made it to Carlsbad, New Mexico, on Monday after going thru Roswell, New Mexico. I wasn’t too impressed with Roswell. But anyways, we are staying at the Carlsbad RV park which is about 45 min away from the caverns. Our first stop in town was the RV store which is right next to the RV park; how convenient is that? I picked up some stuff we needed and looked for a drain valve for the fresh water tank that has a slow leak, but they didn’t have it. I’ll probably have to order it when I get to Texas. Tara and Z got settled into the park while I changed the veg filter on Benny and hooked up the power and water. Man, it is hot here, which leads me to my next problem: I turned on the a/c and it worked great, until I turned it off an hour later. Then later on that night I flipped it back on to circulate the air in the RV and the blower motor didn’t move. I didn’t want to deal with it then so I told myself I would deal with it tomorrow and went swimming with Z at the indoor pool.

swimming

We woke up early Tuesday to get a jump on all the people going to the caverns.

Look at me, I’m a park ranger. 🙂

justin the ranger

This place is amazing. There are so many beautiful rock formations, and stalagmites. The cavern is 750 feet under ground, and a constant 56 degrees. During the summer months they have a couple million bats that use the cave as a home and at dusk  they leave to feast on insects. I think that would be a cool sight to see. Z was excited because he got to pee 750 feet underground. The pics don’t do this place justice. It is something you have to see in person. It is by far the most interesting and beautiful place we have gone.

soda straws

big room lookout

big room tour

Here is a link to some more photos.

When we made it back to the park I decided to look at the a/c. I took the shroud off and oiled the motor. Five minutes (after I had given up) later it started to work on its own. SWEET!!! Thank the Lord. I didn’t want to shell out money for a new unit. The rest of the night was spent making dinner and playing ping pong with Z in the game room. Today I’m going to go and hunt for veg cause we are running low. And that will give Tara some time to get some of her massage CEUs done online.

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Great News!

I spoke with Clark today from Green Eye Auto. They do SVO (straight veggie oil) conversions and this is the same company that made the kit for Benny’s conversion. He wants me to come up to Eugene, OR in May to apprentice under him and learn more about veg conversions. After that I’ll do installs for the company while I’m traveling around the US. 🙂 I am so stoked about this and can’t wait to learn more.

On another note: We are planning on leaving the farm in Albuquerque on Thursday to travel to Texas for the NuRVers gathering. We plan on stopping in Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns and I think some friends of Tara’s in Texas. I am looking forward to not being rushed and being able to sight-see and take our time getting there. It has just been go go go since we left Vegas. I am in desperate need of some down time and some R&R. Plus, we are going to meet up with Matt and Sara from The Happy Janssens at the gathering. 🙂

Forging

Yesterday I went over to Chris’s dad’s house to help work on some gates for a few of the openings I Installed. I didn’t know he is a blacksmith. This is something that I am so interested in learning. When I arrived he said that we have to make some hinges to hang the doors on. So we went to the table he made out of fire brick with a hole cut out of the center and a cast iron bowl in place. The bowl also has a hole in the side where he has a hand cranked fan to push air into the coal, making it super hot.

Here is a pic of the hand cranked fan.

Interested

This is Scott getting the steel hot enough to bend.

Forger

After a while you have to add water to the surrounding coals around the pot to keep the fire contained.

Wetting The Coals

This is Scott bending the steel.

Strong Enough To Bend Iron

On the anvil Scott has holes drilled to put misc tools on. This one is the cutter, its used to cut the steel you are working with.

Strike While Its Hot

I’m hoping in the near future Scott will let me try my hand at forging. It is very intriguing.

Ironwood Farm

This is such an exciting place to be with so many learning opportunities. Since we arrived last Thursday I have: finished building a chicken coop, built fencing, installed gates, fed sheep, pigs, goats, cows, chickens, and our self’s with all the yummy food they have here. And I have also learned a bit of Spanish from one of the interns from Peru. Her name is Julie; she is really nice. I finally milked a cow and a goat for the first time.

This is me helping Z with the boat he made on irrigation day. I had to rake out tons and tons of leaves from the irrigation canal that day; I was pooped. We had to open up different canals from up to a 2 miles away to get water to the fields we seeded.

Help From Dad

Here are some shelf’s I made out of spare doors Chris had laying around:

This is the adobe floor I helped with and sealed:

Handmade Adobe Floor

I think this is my next project I am going to tackle. Its a corn sheller. As you can see it needs a little TLC.

We went to a local bar for St. Patty’s day were Chris was playing some Irish tunes on his guitar. The bar had some awesome beer by the way.

Falling Into The Music

Veg Conversion

What a exciting post I get to tell you about! Where do I begin? Matt from the Happy Janssens came into town, along with his family, to do the veggie conversion on Benny.

We started by getting the dimensions for the fuel tank and discussed where we wanted to mount it. We found a great spot to fit a 36 gallon tank; the only bummer was I had to move the electrical box for the generator plugin. We started by making a bracket to mount the veg pump and misc solenoids. After mounting all of them on the bracket we then mounted the bracket inside the engine compartment. Then Matt worked on mounting the fuel gauge, pressure gauge and veg switch on the dash. We then routed all the different hoses to everything, and back to the fuel tank.

And there you go: Benny runs on veg now! I don’t want to go into depth on the install for proprietary reasons. But Clark from Green Eye Auto asked Matt and I if we would be interested in going around the U.S. doing veg installs for him. How awesome is that? I have to get in touch with Clark soon. He wants me to travel up to Eugene, OR and work on a couple of installs for him, so I can get acquainted with all the different parts and vehicles I will be working on. I am so excited about this, and hope it pans out. 🙂

Matt, thanks a lot for everything. You’re awesome.

New Mexico so far

City of Rocks is located about 45 minutes out of Deming, New Mexico. What a great place to visit with awesome views.

Just The Three Of Us

When we arrived Zeb and Tara went off for a hike. I stayed back to check the fluids on Benny.

In the morning we started to make our way to Albuquerque. I forgot to filter oil the previous night t so I tried to filter some in the morning but it was too cold and kept on popping fuses. So I had to stop and fill up the diesel tank. 😦

Then the GPS took up on a back road thru some steep snowy and icy mountains. Other than that we made it to the Ironwood Farm in Albuquerque at about 5 in the afternoon. Chris, the owner of the farm, is very friendly. He showed us where to park and setup, he also invited us inside for dinner to meet the two other interns. I told Chris I would tackle working on the chicken coop for the 100 chicks he had waiting. I finally finished up today after finding things and getting acquainted with his shop.

Chicken Transfer To Their New Home

I also helped move a bunch of bails of hay and worked on an adobe floor in Chris’s shed.

What a terrible 2 days…

We finally made it to our first destination in Phoenix, AZ on Friday to hang out with a great unschooling family for the weekend.

Zeb has had so much fun hanging out with their 3 boys, riding bikes, and playing video games. Tara is having a hard time trying to get used to this lifestyle, but I think she will come around eventually. 😉 Saturday was so hot here; I would say close to 80 degrees. Oh, did I mention that our water pump went on the fritz Saturday? I messed with it and got it to work till Sunday morning when it was shower time and then it decided to keel over. Carlos, the dad we were staying with, was kind enough to give me a ride to the RV store for a new pump.

Sunday it rained all day, so of course one of the windows leaked and soaked our mattress. So I got drenched outside trying to fix it. I woke up Monday morning to a crack in the toilet and water everywhere again. So another trip to the RV store to get a new toilet. The good thing about the RV store is it had a free dump station and water to fill up the fresh water tank. I proceeded to dump, and then started to fill the fresh water tank  and the freaking hose came out and soaked me ( by that point I’m so pissed and fed up).

Finally after that we get on the road and made it to Tucson, AZ, Tara found a nice spot to boondock on some BLM land. We arrived and Zeb gathered wood for a fire and set up his Heroscape. Tara took a walk, and some pictures, and made some awesome pork tacos. I filled the veg tank, and caulked around all the windows in hopes of not having another leak.

I know tomorrow is going to be a better day. On to the City of Rocks National Park in the morning.