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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Hard to Plan

 


In these interesting times it’s a bit difficult make any sort of long range plans. Between the pandemic, economic collapse, social upheaval, and natural disasters, it’s not a good time to travel.


I was talking to a paramedic friend of mine. He thought that the schools would eventually all have to go to remote learning. He expects the virus to spread easily in a school environment. His kid is staying home. Fortunately for him, his wife works from home so can be there.


My friend was also appalled with Florida’s decision to remove restrictions from bars and restaurants. With that in mind, I’m happy with my decision to stay home for the duration. Who knows what the world will look like a year or two down the road? While I can guess, that’s no way to plan. If 2020 has shown us anything it’s that we can expect the unexpected.


We are fortunate to have gotten some rain finally. That takes the edge off, but we’ll need a lot more. There are wells not far from me that have gone dry. Our foliage season was short up here in the north. The dryness hastened things along. The leaves on many trees looked burnt and crinkled, like they’d been too near a fire. Drought will do that. Now the rain is washing a lot of leaves onto the ground.


My lovely wife and I are doing well. The plan is to fort up as much as possible and avoid the flu and Covid season. Progress is being made on home projects. There will be plenty to keep me busy.


-Sixbears

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Dash to the coast



My lovely wife and I took one last trip to the coast while the weather was good. I think the Portland Maine lighthouse is becoming one of favorite places to visit. It certainly helps that they allow dogs in the park.

We have friends in southern Maine and they are well set up for overnight company. They pitched a large canvas pavilion in their spacious backyard. For the convenience of guests there’s an outdoor comfort station in a separate small tent with a portapotty, sanitizer and a hand washing station. It makes it easy to socially distance.

They put on a good feed for us and we enjoyed an evening around the campfire. That’s the only time we’ve spent the night away since we came back from Florida in the spring. The weather was unusually mild and were lucky to be able to take advantage of it.

Currently we are at the peak of foliage season here in Northern New Hampshire. It’s been unusually dry and fire danger has been high. However, we are expecting about a week of rain that’s definitely needed. The overflow from my well has stopped flowing. That’s only happened once before in my memory. I went down to the well to upgrade the plumbing connection at the pump so it wouldn’t fail at an inconvenient time. That’s when I noticed the overflow had stopped, but fortunately the well is still full of water. It’s just a couple inches lower than normal.

A lot of people around here a dreading winter. I’m not going to worry about it. Attitude is everything. There is no bad weather, only bad clothes. With all the turmoil going on in the world, I’m kinda looking forward to being snowed in. Nobody riots during a blizzard.

It will be a time for good books while sitting by the fire.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Not a bad place



I’ve been very fortunate during these interesting times to have a place out in the country.


This view of New Hampshire’s White Mountains is from my lake.




There’s a bit of smoke haze from the western fires, but not too bad. Right now it’s still probably some of the best air in the country. Where my younger daughter lives on the west coast it’s super smoky. She’s had to put her lights on in the middle of day due to the smoke blocking out the sun. At least her place is not currently under direct threat. However, she’s been told by authorities to pack an emergency bag in case.


I also feel for all the folks dealing with a very active hurricane season. When you run out of names for storms you know it’s a bad one. They then will go with Greek letters. Hope they don’t run out of those. What would be next? Disney characters?


While we haven’t have the fires they’ve had out west, it’s been a dry summer. A friend of mine who works for the Forest Service as a firefighter did a 21 day stretch without a break. Fortunately the fires have been small, but there have been a lot of them. Most have been started by campers not putting out campfires properly.


There are a lot more people out in the woods taking advantage of free dispersed camping. I even ran into a good sized group of people doing official bird dog trials. Normally they’d meet in Maine, but due to Maine’s 14 day quarantine requirement they relocated the event to New Hampshire.


Summer’s nice weather allowed for us to socialize outside with people. Winter might get a bit grim. I’m going to avoid being inside anywhere but my house and maybe a few essential short term shopping trips. Whatever it takes to stay healthy. Might even skip the shopping trips.


Frankly, I don’t think I’m going to mind being snowed in at all. It’s hard for people to riot in a blizzard.


-Sixbears


Sunday, September 6, 2020

End of Summer



We’ve come to the unofficial end of summer. The lake is pretty busy this holiday weekend. Heck, the whole state of NH is packed with visitors. The state has taken to requiring day passes for the state parks. Many are full up.


Of course, I’d rather be dealing with a tourist invasion that daily riots in the streets. Portland just had 100 straight days of protest. Some places have definitely had a long hot summer. While I’m in no hurry for the cold weather to settle in, nobody riots during a blizzard.


2020 has been a strange year. I’m expecting some kind of black swan even between now and the end of November. That’s weird when you think of it as black swan events are supposed to unexpected. This year I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.


Hope everyone is being safe. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Don’t go around to super spreader events and avoid going to protests looking for a fight. Neither of those activities tend to end well.


-Sixbears


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Security



I picked up a new hobby during the quarantine -lock picking. I was giving an Amazon gift card so I picked up a book and few tools. Over time I was able able to fiddle with some old padlocks and got them open. It’s a very meditative hobby. Nothing can be forced.


Just for grins and giggles I thought I’d try the lock on my front door. It’s nothing special as far as locks go. It’s about average, probably like the one on your house. It took me, a rank amateur, five seconds to unlock it.


Here’s the thing. I always could bypass a lock in a matter of seconds. When I was a firefighter I took a lot of forcible entry courses. We had a fire in an office building one time. Every door was locked, but I popped them open so quickly that the officer coming behind me thought they must have been unlocked. Of course, I had a tool and was not afraid to make noise and do a bit of damage.


Locks are to keep honest people honest. The deadbolts on my house are there to slow a house invasion down just enough for me to get my gun.


Don’t even get me started on gated communities. The vast majority of them are just security theater. If there are kids in those communities they always have paths around gates and locks. Often there are back entrances to those communities left unlocked.


What’s more important than locks is the sort of place you live in. Bad neighborhoods are called bad for a reason.


-Sixbears

Friday, August 28, 2020

Life in the woods



We are in a pretty good place during these trying times. Having a bit of land, a well, and significant solar electric is a comfort. That takes care of a lot worries right there.


My lovely wife and I had a great afternoon sailing out on the lake. The loons and osprey were very active. It’s nice not to have to deal with crowded boat ramps with tense people. The sailboat is right there at our beach, ready to be sailed at a moment’s notice. Sure, it’s a small lake, but sailing is sailing.


Progress has been made on sealing up the basement air leaks. We are looking in better shape for the coming winter. In recent years we’ve gotten snow on the ground in October that stays until spring. That brings things to a halt.


One more trip to the transfer station should take care of the rest of junk from when the old deck was torn down. Most of the debris was burned, but not everything could be. I’m not going to burn pressure treated as that’s pretty toxic.


I’m still taking the virus seriously. Rather than shop local I drive 50 miles to shop at a grocery store with good safety and a special shopping time for those over 60. Worth it for my piece of mind.


-Sixbears


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Dialed in



The Sixbears household is doing well. I’ve been getting the house ready for winter. That’s what you do up here in New Hampshire’s North Country. Storms are coming.


Speaking of storms, I finally got a chance dial in one of my rifles. There’s a fairly isolated sandpit I like to shoot in. Unfortunately the woods road out to it was washed out and closed for repairs. One of my cousins goes to run his dogs in that area and he let me know the road was open again.


I didn’t mess around. Some folks just shoot a few rounds and call it good. There are a lot of variables when shooting. However, if the weapon is sighted in and functions well those are two less things to worry about. I brought a shooting table, chairs, binoculars, targets, surveyor’s tape measure, hearing protection, tools, quality ammo -the whole nine yards.


I’m glad I did. The sights were off. There was also a problem with one of the magazines. After four or five rounds it would sometimes fall right out of the gun. That could be embarrassing. Fortunately the other magazines functioned well. Never assume that just because something is new it functions the way it’s supposed to. When there’s high demand for firearms sometimes quality control suffers.


Guns and ammo are in short supply just about everywhere. Glad I don’t really need anything new. A friend gave me a box of 100 shotgun shells recently which was a nice surprise. 9 mm is almost non-existent. A friend paid a lot for a box. Every round shot is like buying a fancy coffee. There’s some 380 available in my area for reasonable money. It’s good to have firearms of different calibers. Personally, I’m glad I stocked up on .22s when they were cheap.


With any luck all I’m going to need my firearms for is hunting season.


-Sixbears




Thursday, August 13, 2020

Mental Health in These Times

 


In a lot of ways I’m doing this pandemic on easy mode. When I say pandemic I’m not just talking about the virus, but all stuff that goes with it. There’s economic and social upheaval and even spiritual issues to deal with.


Of course, having a sailboat and a hammock on the beach of my little lake certainly helps.


In general my family and friends are handling it pretty well. That’s not to say there aren’t challenges. A deaf friend who lip reads is having a bad time with people wearing masks all the time.


Personally it helps that I’ve had bad times when other people were doing well. It gave me perspective. I’ve been blessed with the threat of the loss of all my material possessions. Once you let that fear of loss go life has a certain new freedom. It’s all just stuff. Money is an illusion.


That’s not that you don’t have to deal with it. For example, one bank just cut $8,000 from my credit line. Now I wasn’t using the credit and had never missed any payments. The main reason I carried that credit in the first place was for emergencies when traveling. No big deal. Next time I travel I’ll deal with emergencies in other ways. There are always solutions. By the way, I mention that because at least a third of Americans have had their credit reduced. If that happened to you, it’s not personal. You didn’t do anything wrong.


Having physical perps is helpful, but the real skill needed in these times is mental flexibility. Also, be kind to yourself when you aren’t handling things well. We are all allowed some bad moments. If they persist too long and cripple your life, don’t be afraid to get help.


-Sixbears

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

New Blogger and other Stuff

Looks like the formatting of my last post was a bit messed. I don't know why Blogger thinks it a good idea to make people have to learn a whole new system every now and then. Some bloggers have just given up. This post is being done a bit different so I hope it works.

 

I'm not a survivalist. I'm into thriving. Fear is a powerful control mechanism. It's a trap

. . . . and yet, I wear a mask. That's because I did a lot of research and came to the conclusion that it couldn't hurt and might help a lot. Also, I like messing up facial recognition. If I'm wrong there's no harm done. If I'm right, I might save my life. My mask is so good that using a public porta potty is not a bad experience. 

My lovely wife and I have been doing some local travel and really enjoying the outdoors. Temperatures have been pretty hot for northern NH, so being on the lake has been a good thing. Odds are we'll be staying clos to him this winter. Looking forward to a lot of winter activities. As long as temperatures don't linger below zero for weeks on end it should be doable. 

 There's a lot of debate about kids going back to school. It got me thinking about how I'd feel about it if this would have happened when I was kid. Personally, I would have jumped at the chance not to go to school. It sucked. My grades were good, but I always felt school took too much time and kept me from learning cool stuff. 

There's a lot of things changing right now. That can be a good thing. Frankly, there was a lot of stuff that didn't work for most people before this pandemic. Since we have restart everything, might as well do it in a new way. It could be in big ways, like work and school, or in smaller ways. For example, I think I'm done paying for haircuts. 

 -Sixbears

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Calm Before the Storm

I’m enjoying summer. The weather’s been amazing here in the Great North Woods. My lovely wife and I take the sailboat out on the lake. We’ve visited with friends and family outside and in a safe manner. The other day we even went to listen to a local musician play in the park. Home projects are getting done. Maybe not as quickly or as easily as during normal times, but they are getting done. In these interesting times we are doing better than most. New Hampshire is one of the states managing the crisis fairly well. However, there are signs of trouble ahead. Tourists have come into the state from all over. There are packed restaurants. Bike week, which had been rescheduled from June, will be taking place. That usually brings in crowds from all over. Some people have gotten very lax about precautions. I’m hoping that our luck will hold, but still taking all precautions. Too many places have gone from few cases to major outbreaks to relax. Now is the time to sort out any last minute preps. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to know the fall and winter are going to be challenging times. Don’t let this narrow window of prep time slip away. I’m expecting to be pretty much locked down when the cold weather sets in. I’ve plenty of coffee, books to read, and popcorn to watch the show. -Sixbears

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Woods are Full



If you have plans on bugging out to the woods you might have missed your chance. They are full. I’ve been going out into the National Forest to do some walking to rehabilitate my knee. Even during the weekdays the dirt roads out in the forest have heavy traffic. Wild camping sites are occupied.

Probably a lot of this is just people from the city looking for something fairly safe to do. However, with people unable to pay rent some of them appear to be on the road full time. Having traveled for months that way myself I know how it looks.

My cousin, in an attempt to avoid people, hiked way out in the wilds on a long abandoned trail and still ran into someone.

I’m curious to see how busy the woods are going to be come hunting season. With the price of food going up and people out of work I expect lots of meat hunters this year. I’m going to be one of them. However, it doesn’t look to be a good year for game. Berries aren’t doing well this year so critters have to work much harder to eat. We might all have to work much harder to eat.

-Sixbears

Friday, July 17, 2020

The Curse of Interesting Times



Yep, still here. Still doing pretty well. My lovely wife and I are making progress around the house.

I did pop something in my knee, so that set things back a bit. That hurt like a son of a gun. Of course, having no medical insurance and looking to avoid hospitals in the time of the pandemic, I just slapped a brace on it. That seems to have helped a lot. It’s still got a ways to go, but it is getting better. One of the things that is helping is pedaling my bike. That works the knee without me having to put my full weight on it.

New Hampshire is doing better than most places as far as this disease goes. However, things are opening up and people are getting a bit too casual about it for my liking. Here’s the thing: if I’m over cautious there’s no harm done. If, however, things are worse than they seem I’m taking necessary precautions. While the risk of infection may be low the consequences for a fat over 60 guy with bad lungs could be dire.

It doesn’t help that my lovely wife just discovered her aunt most likely died from the coronavirus. She had all the symptoms and was even on a ventilator for a few days. She lived in a southern state that’s been accused of hiding the numbers, so that might be an issue.

Speaking of hiding the numbers -there’s a lot more of that going on. The latest example is the fact that information is no longer going to the CDC. While the CDC has its problems the information was public. That info will be harder for the average person to get now.

Getting good information in general is hard these days, but that’s nothing new. During the Great Depression, the word “depression” was never used in the papers. The information was all there, but it was buried deep in the financial section in the back of the paper and you had to crunch the numbers yourself.

With that in mind I did some research looking at how long big business plans on having to deal with fall out from the pandemic. They seem to be expecting issues for at least another year and a half. Prepare for the possibility.

A vaccine is supposed to the magic bullet that makes it all go away. In spite of all the hype, the vaccines in the pipelines all have issues. The safer ones appear to only offer partial protection. Other vaccines appear to have nasty side effects in a significant percentage of the test groups.

I am not against vaccines in principle. Personally, I won’t be in the first wave of those getting it. Not having health insurance is part of the problem. Even if the vaccine was free, if I had complications from the shot I’d be stuck picking up the tab myself.

At any rate, my lovely wife, our kids and grandkids are well. They are all getting by.

Interesting times.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Don’t Let a Pandemic Go to Waste



The Sixbears extended family continues to do well. The last thing that someone should do is to wait around for a vaccine before moving on with life. The second to the last thing someone should do is to ignore the virus and pretend it went away.

We are taking all necessary precautions. For example, Tuesday we got up super early to drive 50 miles to do groceries. Our local stores have sloppy disease protocols. The store we went to has a time slot for those over 60 first thing in the morning. We also have a good supply of locally raised meats from a nearby farmer. Fish we can get right out of the lake we live on -can get much more local than that.

This year we’ve improved our garden and are taking advantage of wild plants for food and medicine.

It’s been a time for improving our homestead. We will be putting off extended travel for at least another year. Our relief check has gone into preparing for the coming winter.

Plenty of people I’ve communicated with do not want things to go back to the way they were. Some want to continue to spend more time with their families. Some who work for home want to keep doing that.

While my immediate family is doing well, there are those around us not all that well at all. If you have an essential job, especially in health care, you are under a lot of extra stress. Some friends have lost people to this virus. Others are still suffering from the after effects of this disease. Even younger people have dealt with long term lingering ill health. Personally, I don’t feel the need to take risks to get my hair done. They’ll do that for you at the funeral home.

-Sixbears

Monday, June 22, 2020

So What Happened to Sixbears?


In short, I’m fine. My extended family is also well.

So why has this blog gone quiet?

This blog evolved into two main themes. The first was as a prepper blog. Frankly, you should have prepped by now. I’ve covered enough ground that I’d basically be repeating myself over and over again. Right now I’m taking advantage of a lull in the panic to top off my canned and dry goods.

The second thing this blog ended up doing was covering my travels. Right now I’m not going far at all. It’s time to stick close to the homestead.

Be well.

-Sixbears

Monday, April 20, 2020

Quarantine Update



Things are getting pretty crazy out there and it’s too early for crazy. Quarantines take time to work. When they are broken, they are broken. All those folks who are so anxious to get back to work and resume normal life are only going to make the pandemic worse.

Now I get that people are running out of money and have food insecurity. That just shows how badly the Federal government is handling this crisis. There are third world countries that are taking better care of their people. We should be doing better than places like El Salvador, but we aren’t. Then then are countries like South Africa that have a hard lockdown but not enough provisions made to feed people. They have riots in the streets now because people are running out of food.

Your financial overlords want you to go back to work. They may have to let their seventh vacation home go. Go back to your low wage job so they can continue the lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to.

Guess what? it’s not going to happen. Just accept the planet is going into a deep depression and plan accordingly. That’s already baked into the cake. Financially, a lot of us are going to be in trouble. However, you don’t have to also suffer from this illness too. The fatality rate is bad enough, but survivors also suffer lifelong damage.

Scientists say we won’t really have this beat until there is a vaccine. They also say that vaccines might not even work. The coronavirus might be mutating fast enough to prevent that from happening. It’s also possible that humans don’t develop a strong enough antibody response to keep from being reinfected. This is a new disease and it will take time to figure out.

My thinking is that the longer one can avoid infection the better their odds are. There’s a lot of effort going into the search for treatments and a cure. Those who get infected a year or two from now will have the benefit of all that research and experience. Even better will be those who go the distance and don’t get this at all. The least I can do for my overworked friends in the medical system is to not be part of the freaking problem.


I’m high risk so that’s my goal. Fortunately, my daughters are taking this seriously and doing what they can to help me avoid risky behavior. I am truly blessed.

-Sixbears

Friday, April 10, 2020

Break Time



Hello loyal blog readers. I’ve decided to take a break from blogging. I’m basically hanging around the house. Blogging about that could get boring pretty quickly. There are plenty of other people on many different platforms sharing their stay at home lives. Look at them if you’d like.

I could always do a running commentary on the pandemic, but the 24 hour news cycle has that covered fairly well.

With those things in mind I’ve decided to take a bit of a break.

Be well everyone.

-Sixbears

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Don’t waste it



The past three weeks have felt like three years. We’ve seen long established systems come to a halt, sometimes overnight. Everything from work to school to social life to religion to shopping -everything is different. Pretty amazing.

I always thought it would take something like an alien invasion for that to happen.

So where do we go from here? Maybe that’s too big a question? Perhaps it’s all a matter of billions of people wondering “Where do I go from here?” There’s a lot of individual decisions being made. One can’t but help wonder how many people will come to the same conclusions.

While I can’t speak for anyone else, I’m thinking of a few things.

First of all, I refuse to make decisions out of fear. Prudence and caution are fine. Fear shuts down a person’s logic. With that in mind, my energy is focused on doing positive things. Life is going to be different when this is all over. Every day that passes makes it less likely that we’ll go back to the old ways.

I’m also thinking that my energy is going to be focused much closer to home. Thanks to travel restrictions, the world is a much larger place. Who knows when, or even if, world wide travel becomes common again.

One more thing. Don’t plan on this being over soon. In a way, it will never be over. You can’t unscramble an egg. You can, however, make a pretty decent omelet.

-Six bears

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Improvement


I’m still getting better. The fever hasn’t returned and my guts have settled down. It’s reached that point where I have to be careful not to overdo it.

Like everyone else I’m watching developments in the nation and the world. Perhaps that’s not the best use of my time and energy, but I don’t want to be in the dark either.

Living out in the woods is a good thing these days. Our plans have definitely done a 180 degree turn from what we’d expected to be doing. Instead of putting energy and work into being nomads, we are going to be homebodies.

The weather is still fairly cold and the lake frozen. Can’t wait to get the boats in the water after breakup happens. This is going to one summer when fishing is going to matter. While we don’t have a lot of garden space we are going to make the best use of what we’ve got. Foraging wild edibles is always an option. That activity will be less of a hobby and more of a job.

Be well everyone.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Probably not



I ran a fever all night but it broke in the morning. After that my symptoms looked more like a gastro intestinal thing. The good news is that my breathing is fine.

If my condition takes a turn for the worse I will definitely seek medical attention. My kids kinda freaked out. My middle daughter, using personal connections, found out how I could get a test if I needed one. Right now, since this is looking more like something else, it’s best that the test go to people who really need it.

Here’s the thing, a few days ago my lovely wife had similar symptoms. We didn’t think too much of it because she gets the exact same sensations when her fibromyalgia flares up. In retrospect she probably had what I’m dealing with now. She felt pretty close to normal in three days.

Don’t want to freak anybody out, but I don’t want to hide anything either. Thank you all for your concern.

-Sixbears

Monday, April 6, 2020

Could it be?

I'm running a fever right now. Not really happy about it. Also have a small cough. Really could be anything. I've been careful, but you never know.

-Sixbears

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Trip to Town


My lovely wife needed her meds from the pharmacy in town. Unfortunately, her prescription is heavily regulated and she can only have a 30 day supply. That forces us to go to the pharmacy at least once a month.

I grabbed my face mask, a bottle of hand sanitizer, and headed off to run errands. First stop was at a property my daughter owns. It’s currently empty. My friends who have a sugar house dropped off a gallon of maple syrup in the morning. I picked it up in the afternoon. They take payment on-line with PayPal. They’ve worked out ways to sell their product without physically dealing with people.

Then I went into the Pharmacy. Not a single person there, employees or customers, had any sort of protective gear on. It felt a little weird to be the only one taking it seriously.

The grocery store was a little different. About 40% of the customers had masks on. The employees were a mixed bag. Some were fully protected. Others had nothing.

Dairy was pretty sparse. I got some Swiss cheese, fancy butter, and a quart of whole milk. There were no eggs, paper products or sanitizer. Way in the back of the meat cooler was one large package of ground beef, some chicken thighs and a few pork cuts. There was also chicken sausage. Apparently that’s not a popular item as there was a good selection. The only bacon left was no name low salt -which I happen to like anyway.

This is going to go on at least well into summer, no matter what the US government is saying. Don’t be surprised by that. They’ve been changing their story from day to day since this started. Canada is telling its citizens to expect this to go at least until the end of July. Prepare for the long haul. A good part of this is going to be mental. Don’t think of yourself as stuck at home. Think of yourself as being safe at home.

-Sixbears

Friday, April 3, 2020

He’s not hating it



A buddy of mine says he’s not hating this quarantine business.

He’s retired but his wife is still working. Now she works from home. That’s 14 hours a week of commuting she’s no longer doing. Now they have breakfast together and start the day with a quick soak in the hot tub.

She takes a coffee break around 10. If the weather is good they have coffee at the “Borderline Cafe.” They have a table and chairs set near their property line. Their neighbors also have a table and chairs set up on their side. Tables are about 20 feet apart. They each bring their own coffee and snacks and enjoy a visit.

Now that she’s not commuting they have time to practice their martial arts every afternoon. Later in the evening they connect with friends and family using various video platforms.

Before his state was locked down he picked up a lot of gardening supplies. As the weather improves he has major garden projects planned.

He admits, kinda sheepishly, he’s not really suffering during this emergency.

-Sixbears

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Location Matters



In these trying pandemic times it really matters where you live. States that put stay at home orders in place early are doing better than those who resisted doing so. Some state governments are handling the emergency much better than others.

The prepper community has had a long ongoing debate between bugging in or bugging out. Well, in this case, bugging in is the solution. One of the things I always said is that you should live at your bug out location. Since it’s difficult to know what’s going to happen, it’s better to always live in your safe place.

That’s why I felt the need to head back home when I did. Fortunately, the nature of the crisis was such that I had enough lead time to get back to my house in the woods.

People who’ve bugged out are being looked upon with suspicion in the rural communities they’ve fled to. Police go door to door because they see out of state plates on cars parked in front. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Being an outsider is never easy, but now it might even be considered criminal.

The United States medical system varies hugely by area. Worse, there’s no central system that has control over everything. Normally the system is pretty efficient. However, it’s become pretty obvious that countries with national health care are doing a better job now. That’s just a fact, like it or not.

Maybe we should think of medical care the same way we think of police and fire departments. There used to be private fire departments in this country. It didn’t work very well and put the public in danger. Now it’s inconceivable that fire departments once let houses burn down because the didn’t have the right insurance. Today we have sick people spreading disease because they don’t have health insurance and can’t afford not to work.

Don’t feel superior if you don’t happen to live in a hotspot like New York. At least they have economic and political power. When NY politicians make a fuss the feds have to listen. If you live in a rural area take extra care to stay well. The politicians of Dead Dog County of Backwoods State don’t have much clout in Washington.

Stay well everyone.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Sharing Spaces



Many of us are in some sort of quarantine. The exceptions are those who have to work in critical jobs. Even those people end up home after work. Might as well. Everything is closed anyway.

For a lot of people this is the first time they’ve spent so much time with their significant other. I’m reminded of a guy who once worked with me. He decided he was going to retire. His wife of many years realized he was now going to be home a lot more. After that epiphany she filed for divorce.

For those folks who really don’t get along, it’s got to be hell. The dog may even start to wonder why he’s being walked fourteen times a day.

My lovely wife and I just spend many months sharing small spaces together. It started back in October when we took a train from Boston to San Francisco. Those roomettes are pretty darn small. Then we spent two and a half weeks sharing a small apartment in California.

It wasn’t long after getting back that we headed south for the winter. Most of that time was spent sharing a tent. If that wasn’t small enough, we also slept on a 19 foot sailboat. We really could have dealt with having a bit of time away from each other when we got home. Nope, we are in quarantine.

After the kids moved out I used to think the house was too big. I was wrong. The house is big enough that we can actually be on separate floors, doing our own things. It’s more space apart than we’ve had in months.

Good thing she loves me.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

How Long?





One of the big questions about this quarantine is how long is it going to last? The President just extended the shutdown for another month. What makes you think that will be the end of it? Hope you hadn’t made any big Easter plans.

Personally, I’m supposed to go to a convention in Maine in June. That looks doubtful. Even if restrictions are lifted and the convention takes place, I probably won’t go. Being in a high risk group, it’s just not worth taking any chances. Our family also has reservations for camping on the coast of Maine in July. Not holding my breath on that one either.

Remember, every estimate from the government has been changed for the worse. That’s something to ponder when official estimates now say between 100,000 and 200,000 dead. That’s a best case outcome. There are computer models that predict ten times that. Scary thoughts.

When I see things like field hospitals being set up in Central Park it sends chills down my spine. Tales of civil unrest in European countries give me pause. Their situation is just a few weeks ahead of us. Will we have problems with violence here too? Bullets are still flying off the shelves. 







Not quite there yet.

-Sixbears

Monday, March 30, 2020

So Much for Travel



I love watching travel channels on YouTube. It was rarely things like people going on cruise ships or flying to exotic places. My channel choices were of people traveling by personal boat, van, RV, motorcycle or even by hiking. Last winter while I was recovering my health they sure helped pass the time.

Some of these channels were popular enough that the people making them earned enough income to live on. That’s a pretty sweet gig in a lot of ways. Sure beats working in an office somewhere. Now with the whole planet shutting down, nobody is traveling. The channels are putting out a lot of “this is what we do during lockdown” videos. Personally, I’ve pretty much had my fill of those episodes.

It’s going to be tough for those places that rely on tourists. My own area had a fairly strong recreational industry. Those folks aren’t going to be working for some time. Even when the restrictions are lifted it’s going to take a lot for tourists to come back. People will be hesitant to travel. Most people’s finances are taking a hit and vacations will be one of the first things to be cut from budgets.

I’m pretty much planning to stay close to home for some time. Instead of budgeting for travel, funds will be spent preparing to spend winter at home. That’s going to take a lot of planning and work. At least I’m not going to spend as much time watching travel channels.

-Sixbears

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Quarantine Days



There’s really not much going on around here and that’s a good thing. I guess the self distancing is working -so far.

My lovely wife and I are knocking out house projects. I was able able to get a little plumbing done, all using materials at hand. When you live our in the woods it only makes sense to have basic materials and parts. That’s really paying off these days. While the local hardware store is open, sticking close to home appears to be the better option.

I was able to start her car which has been unused since the beginning of December. It’s still behind a frozen wall of snow and ice, but I’m chipping away at that too.

It’s going to be interesting to see how society changes after this is all over. (Assuming it will be all over) The whole world has pretty much dropped everything to deal with the crisis. Things will not go back exactly the way they were before. You can’t unscramble an egg.

-Sixbears

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Stimulus Money



Okay . . . so the government’s handing out money. All you anti-socialists stay pure and refuse the cash. What’s that you say? This time it’s different? It’s not really Socialism. Whatever lets you sleep at night.

Personally, I’m not really into ideology.

On the other hand, I’m not sure I’m really going to get anything. It’s that just my natural pessimism coming forward? No . . . well . . . not completely. The Sixbears household is in one of those categories where we don’t have to legally file taxes. There was some sort of happy talk that people like us would eventually get some money, somehow.

Whatever.

Fortunately, my firefighter pension is still coming in. In fact, the state sent me an e-mail stating my pension fund was fine. Maybe I’d feel better about that e-mail if it wasn’t sent every three days or so. If they’d sent the e-mail out once, I’d get the impression they were trying to reassure me. When they sent it out all the time, it looks more like they are trying to reassure themselves.

A certain financial institution sent me an e-mail stating how concerned they were for my health during this crisis. How nice. A careful reading, however, revealed they were concerned that I stay healthy so I can keep making payments. News flash: if I get sick paying off their loan is the least of my concerns. My credit is already in the crapper from the last time I was in hospital so that’s not something that can be held over my head.

Now it might be be an issue if wanted a loan to buy a car. Is anybody buying cars these days? If so, why? It’s not like we can drive anywhere.

Seriously though, I hope the money gets out to those who really need it -like most of the population. We are looking at unemployment higher than during the Great Depression. Something has to be done to keep food on the table.

My lovely wife and I are still financially holding our heads above water. We are fine. Our budget is being helped by the fact we aren’t going anywhere or doing anything.

-Sixbears

Friday, March 27, 2020

My Old Fire Department



A cousin of mine retired from my old fire department a few years ago. He got a call from the department. They’ve been contacting those who’ve retired in the last five or six years. The department’s been asking if the retired guys would be willing to come back to work if too many current members get sick. Of course, they’ve stepped up and are willing to go back into harm’s way.

I’ve been out too long and went out on a disability, so they are not asking me. However, it would be hard for me to say no if asked -even knowing it would most likely kill me.

-Sixbears

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Stupidity can kill me



There are numerous examples of people behaving badly during this pandemic, be it young spring breakers, or people even throwing coronavirus parties. Heck, we can’t even get people to wash their darn hands -something they should have been doing all along anyway.

Sigh.

Being over 60 with bad lungs and no insurance, I can’t take chances.

Currently I’m quarantined in case we picked up something on the way home. It looks like our precautions, and some luck, paid off and we are fine. However, now I have to be in quarantine so some some idiot doesn’t infect me.

It’s going to be a long people of isolation and precautions. The best I can hope for is to wait this out until there’s effective treatment, a cure, or natural herd immunity develops.

For those who think this is blown way out of proportion, get back to me in a few weeks . . . if you can.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Head for the hills



Vacation homes here in the North Country have filled with folks fleeing the cities. That’s all well and good, but I wonder how many of them have brought the corona virus with them? Then there’s the fact that our local hospital can’t even take care of the locals. I just hope they will self quarantine for two weeks like we are doing.

By the way, we got almost a foot of snow overnight. Kinda bummed out to see the boat buried in snow. That’s the reason why we weren’t expecting to come north until a month or so from now.


I’ve been thinking about how the government wants a big slush fund of money to support businesses. Current proposals don’t even have many safeguards. They can pick who survives and who doesn’t. There’s a name for that sort of thing and it’s not Capitalism.

Frankly, I wouldn’t mind if a number of industries were quietly left to die. Take cruise ships for example. They are all flagged at ports of convenience to avoid US taxes and laws. Now that times are tight they want support from the US government? Those polluting disease incubators can all be scuttled as far as I’m concerned.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Normal for March



I know it’s normal for spring the North Country, but we just got snow. As I write this, there’s a good six inches on the ground and it’s still coming down. That’s why we didn’t plan on coming home for at least another month. Stuff happens. I’m going to have to shovel a path out to the road to put the trash out.

At least they are still picking up the trash. Nice that some things are working. I’ve always appreciated those workers. They don’t get the respect they deserve, especially during these troubling times.

Have you heard about the Freshman 15? New college students are likely to gain weight their first year of college, about 15 pounds. Have you heard about the Covid -19? It’s the 19 pounds you gain from stress eating and lack of exercise while quarantined. Personally, I’m still losing weight. We have plenty of food storage, but not much for snack food.

Another random bit: people are being issued travel papers. That tells me movement will be very restricted shortly. The guy who was issued papers works in a vital industry. He was instructed to keep the papers with him when traveling to work.

Now I understand the importance of limiting movement during a pandemic. However, it’s starting to feel a bit like East Germany. We are going to have to vigilant about protecting our freedoms

-Sixbears

Monday, March 23, 2020

Avoiding Injury



Now more than ever it’s time to be careful. Try to avoid doing something stupid and getting hurt.

I thought of that while making my way down to my basement’s outside door. There’s still snow and ice on the ground and slipping and falling a real possibility. If I have to go back down there before the ice melts I plan on using ice grips on my boots. Can’t be too careful right now.

People on lock down are getting pretty bored. Bored people can do some dumb things and get hurt. Try not to be that joker.

It’s bad enough that the medical community is getting maxed out treating Covid -19. No need to make the situation worse by getting hurt being an idiot. Not only will you use up sparse resources, you’ll be in a hospital full of infected individuals.

My local docotors’ offices are trying to restrict in person visits. They are trying to do as much as possible remotely. I’m going to do my part by canceling my scheduled visit. I’m feeling fine. Self care is going really well. No need to take the risk. No need to take up their time and resources.

-Sixbears

Sunday, March 22, 2020

After two weeks, then what?



I’m thinking ahead to what I’m going to do come Friday. That’ll be the end of our two week self-isolation. So far it looks like we haven’t brought anything north with us. By self-isolating we were taking precautions for other people’s safety.

By Friday, I thought it might be okay to make a run to the grocery store. Now I’m not so sure. It appears that people are being really casual about social distancing. There are those who are taking this seriously, but too many aren’t.

My lungs already suffered damage from my firefighter days. It took years of work to build my health back to the point where I had some sort of quality of life. This virus could undo years of work and could possibly kill me. That’s the reality of being in a high risk group.

There are some other factors to consider. I don’t have any health insurance. I’m told the local hospital has only four ventilators. What do think the odds are that I’d get one before someone younger and insured?

It’s starting to look like the smart move would be to stay very isolated. Conditions are changing almost by the hour. By Friday, it could be a whole different world so I’ll have to make my decisions with the best and most recent information.

Stay safe out there.

-Sixbears

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Dwindling Nomad Options



It didn’t take too long for my passport to become useless. Most countries have shut their borders, in one form or another.

National and State parks, forests, and campgrounds are starting to close. That’s making it hard for folks in RVs to find a place to park their rigs. Private campgrounds are also closing.

Marinas are shutting down, making it just that much harder to be a live aboard.

Bugging out is looking less and less like a valid option. Heck, they are even discouraging people from hiking the Appalachian Trail.

There are people who’ve set out to cross the world in sailboats and now are stuck. That’s often not too great as there are places that are fine for short visits, but you wouldn’t want to live there. On the bright side, boaters are used to being self-sufficient and usually are well stocked. I know of a number of boaters who’ve selected remote anchorages and plan to stay there for months on end.

Looks like we are in the middle of the ultimate bug-in situation.

-Sixbears

Friday, March 20, 2020

For the good of the realm



A buddy of mine reframed the whole quarantine situation for me. He said don’t think of it as being in quarantine. Think of it as self imposed exile for the good of the realm. Poetic, but I kinda like it.

We are about half way though our two week quarantine. Seems to me if something truly nasty would have gotten us, it would have shown up by now. Maybe. What we really know about this virus is fairly limited and much of it wrong. For example, it was thought that young adults would generally get mild symptoms. Turns out there’s a pretty high percentage who get hammered by this.

Now I’m not sure if that bit of information would have changed spring break behavior, but you never know.

I’ve had a number of people willing to help. People keep asking if there’s anything we need. We’ve had offers of everything from food to cash money. It’s humbling and I’m glad to say we are fine. While we didn’t have everything we needed, an Amazon delivery filled in a few gaps. For some reason I’d let my supply of whole house water filters get low. That wouldn’t be a problem for many weeks, but I feel better having them in stock. If you’ve got good water, half your problems are solved -everything from drinking to sanitation.

Speaking of sanitation I installed a bidet yesterday. That should stretch the TP supply quite a bit.

There’s been plenty of projects to keep us busy. Since the house had been closed down since October, it needed a good cleaning. There’s still work to do, but we’ve been in no hurry. There are also other projects to keep us occupied. The next week should fly right by.

-Sixbears

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Don't be a Dick

Well folks, that's about it. Don't be that person who only thinks of themselves during this health emergency. At some point we all need other people.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Never to been seen again



This pandemic is a big reset button. A lot of stuff will never be the same again. I’m not even talking about the people we’ll lose or those who’ll get sick. Today I’m focusing on society and the economy.

First of all, much of the economy is BS. We need people to shake coconuts out of the trees. We don’t need jobs that essentially amount to shuffling paper around. My guess is that a lot of those BS jobs will disappear. Some of them are required by regulations. In times of crisis those artificial constraints can no longer be tolerated. They just aren’t affordable anymore.

We are being encouraged, in many cases required, to self-isolate for a couple weeks. Most people go through life without much thought. Habit and routine rule their days. Now those routines are broken. Many people will wake up to the fact that they were living on automatic and not living the life they really wanted. Having a brush with mortality will likely jump start the process too.

A friend of mine was looking to retire at the end of the year. Now his 401K is in pretty tough shape. On one hand, financial advisers would recommend postponing retirement. He could earn more money and also wait for the market to recover. On the other hand, this is not a normal downturn.

Maybe he’d be better off retiring right now, no matter how hard the financial hit. That way he could stay home instead of going to work and possibly catching the virus. Like me, he’s in a higher risk category. Better to be poor and alive than rich and dead. Of course, I can’t tell people what to do and don’t want them to blindly take my advice. Maybe financial advisers are right and I’m wrong. It’s a time of uncertainty.

One thing that’s changing -preppers aren’t seen as alarmist weirdos quite so much.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Sitting this one out



It’s a darn good thing I like isolation. If I’m going to be in a self-imposed quarantine for two weeks, best to be at home. After all, this is where my beans and other essentials are kept. We didn’t even stop at the grocery store to top off our supplies. However, there are couple of deliveries on their way, so that’s good. However, if they never show up that won’t be the end of the world either.

This is a perfect emergency for introverts. They are skilled at staying home and not interacting with people.

Things are moving really really fast, but that’s what I expected when I made the decision to head home. One of my fears was that there would be restrictions on domestic travel. Two weeks ago that sounded like a nutty idea. Today, not so much.

-Sixbears

Monday, March 16, 2020

Up and running


Good news on Sunday. The water supply line from the well to the house had not frozen. All I had to do was to thaw out the short section in the basement. That was the biggest hurdle.

When the water is turned back on, it’s done in stages. First I get the cold water flowing to the downstairs kitchen and bath. Once it’s confirmed there are no leaks I then connect the washing machine and made sure the drain isn’t frozen.

After that checked out the next thing was filling the downstairs hot water system. Since none of that leaked, I opened up the valves that supplied the upstairs bath. No leaks there either. Once the hot water tank was full I tripped the breaker and we had hot water. For my good work I get rewarded with a hot shower.

The startup went well, in large part, due to October me doing a good job shutting and draining the system. Sunday it was like getting a present from past me. It is always nice when reopening the house goes well. During these crazy times it’s even nicer.

-Sixbears

Sunday, March 15, 2020

From Georgia to New Hampshire



We packed up our tent and camping gear and were ready to hit the road by 10 a. m.. That’s pretty normal for us. I was looking forward to putting some miles in. Unfortunately, my taillight check on the boat trailer revealed they weren’t working.

After fiddling around for some time, testing and redoing connections, only the running lights worked, no brake or directionals. That was not acceptable for a journey of over 1300 miles. There was no help for it but to unhook the Blazer and go into town for new lights. Turns out my old “totally sealed” LED lights had failed internally.

The installation of the new lights was pretty quick and dirty. Instead of carefully running all wires through the frame they were just held in place with electrical tape. I’d already lost four hours and didn’t want to lose more time. The lights can be properly installed at my leisure while at home and with full access to all my tools. The lights worked perfectly for the rest of my trip.

Due to the delay and being worn out from trouble shooting the lights, we only got as far as northern North Carolina. We decided to take a hotel room and get some sleep. Our mistake was availing ourselves to the free breakfast buffet. We both came down with intestinal upset that hit so quick we had to run into the woods rather than find a rest room.

To make our day more interesting, a trailer tire blew about twenty miles into Virgina on route 95. I put a spare on, only to have it stop holding air once the trailer was lowered off the jack and the trailer weight came on it. It took some searching, but new tires were found about 30 miles away. With the new tire on we headed up the road once more.

By around 11 p. m. we were thinking of maybe getting another room. However, the prices were high due to everyone in that area charging a lot for us having a dog. I figured I’d just take a nap in the car. In the end we drove home after taking only an hour and a half nap. One thing about driving all night, there are a lot fewer cars and trucks on the road.

Traveling from the south to the north I saw a wide variety of responses to the coronavirus. Some places were business as usual. Other places were ghost towns. To reduce contact with people we paid for gas at the pump and had sandwiches in the car for a number of meals. When we did eat in a restaurant, it was at odd times with much smaller crowds. Currently we plan on isolating ourselves for two weeks to make sure we didn’t bring anything home with us. It would be nice to get together with family and friends, but not so nice if we make them sick.

-Sixbears

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Made it!

Just a short post to let everyone know we made it back home. I'll fill you all in on the details later. It was a tough trip, but we are fine. We decided to go directly to our house rather than impose on our daughter.

It's still winter here, but the power, heat and Internet are all back up and running. We are using water jugs until I get the water thawed. That'll wait until the basement gets toasty warm. Also, I'm going to need a good night's rest.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Rest Before the Big Push



The Sixbears crew is enjoying a few nice days in the Savannah area before the big push north. It’s hard to say goodbye to the nice southern weather.

The plan is to pack up our rags on Thursday and drive as far north as we are able. We don’t go especially fast towing a boat, but progress is steady. If we have to we’ll spring for one night in a hotel. Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men . . .

Back in my younger and more foolish days I’d drive for 1500 miles with only a short nap or two. While I’d get to where I was going in short order, I wasn’t good for much once I got there.

We had planned on staying a couple of days in South Carolina but decided to cancel. I’m glad we did. The person we talked to at the private campground was obviously drunk in the middle of the afternoon. Makes one wonder how well the place is run.

One of my daughters used to live in the next town from us, but moved to Vermont. However, she still has her house as she’s winding down her business. That’s been made available to us and it’s a huge help. We’ll have a warm place to come to and a driveway to park the boat in. I’ll be able to start the heat in my house and let it warm up for a day or two.

The coronavirus news keeps getting worse. Looking forward to being home before too long. It’s a bit disconcerting to be in a high risk group -over 60 with respiratory issues. I might just hunker down and catch up with all those house projects I’ve been putting off.

-Sixbears

Monday, March 9, 2020

So what happened?



I know I’ve been off the grid for a while now. We had a sudden change of plans. The day we were supposed to go sailing my lovely wife woke up feeling poorly. I really did not want to be way out on the boat somewhere if she got worse.

We ended up staying on land in the middle of nowhere for a few days. Turns out she just had a head cold and got better after several days. In these days of pandemic I did not want to take any chances. That got me thinking about our options. We’ve decided to cut our Florida stay short and to start heading north.

If all goes well we should be spending the night in Georgia. We’ve a few days booked in a state park. We might get delayed by having to swing into St. Augustine to pick up my lovely wife’s meds. After Georgia the plan is to head on north to our home. With all the weirdness going down right now being home seems like a good idea.

There’s evidence that real coronavirus cases will be doubling every six days. Experts, judging from the Italian experience, expect all available hospital beds to be filled by May 8th. I really don’t want to be stuck in a quarantine somewhere.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Scouting Mission


Monday my first mate and myself did a scouting mission. We were checking out boat ramps. The first one we inspected appeared to be barely adequate, but would work in a pinch. Just down the road from that one we once launched at a free ramp. It was a dirt ramp, but did the job. It allowed overnight parking. Unfortunately it’s now blocked off so trailered boats can’t launch there. It’s a carry in launch site for kayaks and canoes. That was a disappointment as it was my backup launch site.

Further down the road we found one that should do the job. If all goes well, today we should be launching from it. It’s not free, at six bucks a day it isn’t going to break us.

In virus news, Florida reports a couple of coronavirus cases here in Florida -and not that far from where were staying. Mark my words. There will be a few cases popping up here and there, but then one day they will seem to be everywhere.

Wash your hands and keep your fingers out of your face.

-Sixbears

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Grid Down



My local electric company sends e-mails when the grid goes down. That doesn’t do anybody any good if they need electric power to get their e-mail, but there you go.

Apparently the storm has hit my home area pretty hard. I’ve been getting e-mails from them about the power going down, coming up and then going down again. Sounds nasty.

Of course, this doesn’t really affect me while I’m traveling down here in Florida. New Hampshire snow storms are far away. A lot of people keep the heat on when they travel south for the winter. That has always seemed like a waste to me. Then there’s always the chance of power going out and their houses freezing anyway. Better to have the plumbing drained and the house winterized to survive without power.

It doesn’t even take a power outage to freeze a house. The furnace could fail, a not uncommon occurrence. Sometimes there’s a snafu with the fuel delivery company and the furnace just runs out.

When I get these little notices from the power company, it reaffirms my decision to properly winterize the house before heading south for the winter.

-Sixbears

Friday, February 28, 2020

More Coronavirus Concerns



A friend up in Maine has already noticed supply disruptions caused by the coronavirus. I’m camping out in the woods right now so my shopping has been limited. Everyone has heard that surgical masks have been in short supply, but he noticed issues with OTC meds and paper products. It’s not a critical shortage yet, but some brands are just gone.

My first inclination is pull up stakes and head back north to home. However, that’s not as easy as it sounds. My part of NH just got buried in another snowstorm. It would take a lot of work to get to the house. It doesn’t have any heat on and the water’s been drained. The original plan was to wait until the snow had melted before going home. Also, it could use a heating oil delivery. Once the place is warmed up, it would take a lot of effort to get the water flowing again. Everything is harder when the ground’s still frozen.

In the short term the plan is to continue with our southern trip, but we are going to keep an eye on events. My main concern is that there would be restrictions on travel making it difficult to get back.

This sort of thinking might seem like an overreaction, but I don’t think so. This sort of disease could very quickly overwhelm our ability to handle it. Heck, we can’t even keep the normal flu from killing thousands of people.

We prepare for unlikely events all the time. However, this looks like it’s going to hit pretty hard. For me, the big question is when.

-Sixbears

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Things you see along the road


I saw this 4X4 parked in Salt Springs Florida. The company: Ocala Bigfoot Tours.




I don’t anything about the company, but I thought it was kinda neat. You never know what you are going to run into in the Ocala.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Dow dive no surprise



Here we are at a “primitive” campsite in the Ocala. Basically, what that means is that there’s no electricity or other hookups at the otherwise very civilized campsites. Today there was finally enough charge from the solar panels to fire up the computer.

After going on-line I discover that the stock market has taken a pretty good tumble while I wasn’t looking. That comes as no surprise. It was just a matter of time. With China’s economy pretty much shut down from the coronovirius, what did you expect to happen?

Eventually all those just-in-time goods, parts and supplies had to run out. The big question is: will the supply lines ever start up again? A number of companies were questioning the wisdom of foreign parts suppliers and manufacture even before the virus scare. Now they have strong incentive to keep more operations local.

In short term it’s going to be a mess. Businesses are going to pull back and hunker down. Eventually things will settle out to a new normal. Logically, it would make sense to manufacture back in the US again, even if it costs more. Things would be more expensive, but on the other hand there would be more US manufacturing jobs.

I’m not sure how agriculture would shake out. People still have to eat.

Of course, there could be enough disruptions in the system to really set everything back. If that happens, expect nations to turn to war. That’s what they do when they can’t solve internal problems. Once again, we are in for some interesting times.

-Sixbears

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Self Care



I was talking to a buddy of mine on the phone. He just had his much dreaded annual checkup. The guy had been concerned about his blood pressure. At his last visit they were talking medication to keep it under control. My friend really hates to take meds. With that in mind, he made some changes in his life.

Diet? Exercise? Nope. He did two things. He limited the amount of time he spent following the news. While he didn’t go on a total news blackout, he cut way back and basically skimmed the headlines. The second thing he did was avoid his step-father. The old man has terrible politics and wants to inflict his opinions on everyone else.

Apparently those two things worked as his blood pressure was excellent.

You might be interested in his plans for a coronovirus pandemic. He’s serious about this. He said he’d drop off a check for at least four months rent at his landlord’s. Then he’d go camping off in the woods by himself. I guess if you don’t have contact with people, you don’t catch diseases. The guy has his gear and supplies all ready to go.

-Sixbears

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Cool day for laundry



Actually, it’s a cool day, temperature wise, so we are doing laundry. What has to be done, has to be done.

At least we aren’t trying to do laundry while on a sailboat. That’s even more fun. At least we can drive to a Laundromat. I’ve seen people trying to load freshly done laundry on their dingy and have it fall into the ocean. After hauling it back and forth a mile down the road, it almost broke their heart.

Laundry is just one of those things -like chopping wood and hauling water. You could complain about it, but it still has to be done. Might as well cultivate a Zen-like calm and make the most of it.

-Sixbears

Friday, February 21, 2020

Context is everything



There are people who’ve been living in a tent for months while bombs drop nearby. That’s life in any number of the world’s war zones. I’ve also been living in a tent for months while bombs drop nearby, but that’s because our campground is near a bombing range. For people in a war zone, their life is full of terror. I’m doing this by choice and enjoying myself.

Not only do we hear bombs drop, we’ve seen some amazing jet maneuvers. Our poor dog doesn’t like it and begs to go hide in the car. Often we humor the poor beast. She doesn’t know they aren’t coming for her.

Frankly, I’m glad they are on our side and it’s all for training. It must be absolutely terrifying when those jets are gunning for you. For many their terror is brief and comes to an abrupt end.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Boat Solar



My sailboat has a very small solar panel and a cheap charge controller. I go with cheap ones as the marine environment is tough on electronics. Expensive ones seem to fry just as easily as cheap ones -unless I buy one of the silly expensive marine units. Since it’s a cheap controller there’s no voltage meter included. Now and then I just test the voltage with a meter. That’s how I discovered the battery wasn’t taking a charge.

Chasing electrical issues on a boat is always fun. My lovely wife volunteered to climb in and help me chase wires. She fits into tight places a lot better than I do. She’s a darn fine first mate.

It took a bit of doing, but eventually the problem was traced to a corroded connection. Only then did I remember having done a quick “temporary” field repair, about 7 years ago. This time the connection was made with proper crimp connectors.

I’m glad that’s all it was. Fixing it while the boat is on the trailer is much easier than when in the water.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Down the Road



Our time at Salt Springs had come to an end. We left with no reservations lined up for our next site. In a way, it kinda feels like being homeless.

Once again, we took a chance and tried for a first come, first served site. This time it was at Juniper springs. We got there and only one site was left. It’s a good site and we are happy to be here. The place is another beautiful spring and I’ll be snorkeling sometime today.

It was only about a 20 minute drive and that’s fine with me. The less we travel, the less gas we burn and the more time we have to actually camp. We are also saving some money by staying at Federal Campsites as my lovely wife gets a half priced discount.

I have some long overdue business to do on the computer. This is as good a place as any to get that done. Of course, it’s not going to be all work and no play.

We are booked here until the end of the month. On the first of March a new company is taking over the park so we can’t stay any later later than the end of February. These parks go up for bid and you never know which company will be in charge of which campground. I think it would make sense to have Forest Rangers run the place. It would bring some much needed stability to the system. Our national lands belong to all of us and shouldn’t be set up as money making operations. They are a public trust and should be managed by the public. Just my opinion.

-Sixbears

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Like mushrooms after a rain


The primitive camping side of Salt Springs has sprouted tents like mushrooms after a rain. I’ve never seen this section so packed. The RV section, with site power and water, is always full. Here on the non-electric side it’s often fairly empty. I’ve seen as little as four sites occupied.

There are a couple of factors contributing to the popularity. The big one is the fact that it’s a long holiday weekend. Most of the people are fairly local Florida folks. Another factor is the fact that there’s a Bluegrass festival just up the road.

We will be here until Monday. The key to booking campsites is to make sure you have a place for the weekend. Many Federal campsites have a lot of first come, first serve sites. You stand a much better chance of getting those in the middle of the week. Just make sure you book through the weekend. We hope to get a site not too far down the road.

In past years we changed campsites often. Three nights at the same place seemed like a long time. That was a good way to see a lot of country in a short period of time. This time we’ve been trying to stay in one place longer. Most sites we stay at have a two week limit and we’ve maxed that out a couple places. That cuts down on the setting up, tearing down, and saves us travel expenses.

We currently still plan on being down south for a couple months yet. When it’s -26 at home we feel little desire to go back. There are things that may cause us to cut our travel short, but so far it looks good for going the distance.

-Sixbears

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Camping in two places at once



Wednesday my lovely wife and I camped at two places at once. We had plans to run up to St. Augustine to meet up with my sister-in-law. By the time we found out she couldn’t make it, we’d already booked a night at the state park.

Only one night was available. Tearing down and setting up and tearing down and setting up . . . Yeah, that gets old. Then there’s towing the boat all over the place. It’s kinda a pain at times. At that point we had a bit of a brainstorm. My lovely wife extended our stay at Salt Springs. The big tent and the boat could stay right where they were. Our little tent was fine for one night at the state park near Saint Augustine. It worked out just fine.

The current plan is to stay at Salt Springs until Monday. After that, we will be winging it again. Stay tuned to find out where we end up.

In other news, I see the coronovirus is affecting the global economy. It’s bad enough that car and computer parts are not available due to Chinese plant closings. What’s really scary is that China makes an awful lot of pharmaceuticals. If that pipeline shuts down people will be hurting. If? When?

Experts warn that this pandemic could infect up to 70% of the world’s population. That’s a scary big number, but the big question: How bad will the mortality rate be? What percentage of those people won’t recover? Interesting times.

Probably the smart thing would be to hunker down in our place in the woods. What fun would that be? Instead we are traveling all over the place, meeting interesting people. What good is an immune system if you don’t use it?


-Sixbears

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Lake George



We launched the sailboat right from Salt Springs and took the spring run all the way to Lake George. I’m very happy we had a couple of things in order. The first is having a decent outboard. Thanks again Spud, it worked really well.

The second bit of kit that was really useful was our depth gauge. Finally got that working. The whole run to the lake we were usually in 2.5 to 3 feet of water -too shallow to let the swing keel down. In fact the entrance to the lake only had about 1.5 feet of water. That’s where some boneheaded boater decided to anchor a big pontoon boat. It was pretty tight but we make it past into the lake.

The sailing was pretty good in about 10 mph of wind. It was a really pleasant day. The trip back was made totally under sail power. The going was slow, but it was perfect for watching wildlife.

By the time we pulled the boat out and squared it away it was starting to get dark and we were exhausted. Instead of cooking dinner we went to a pizza place across from the campground.

My lovely wife and I have been doing a lot of swimming and snorkeling in the springs. That’s one of my must do things for when we are here in Florida. Sure beats dealing with the winter storms up north.

-Sixbears

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Future Travels



It’s been a good time here in the Ocala and I’m glad we’ve got a few more days in this campground. My lovely wife has booked a day in a campground near St. Augustine. The plan is to connect with her sister there. After that our plans have not been firmed up. She did come up with an interesting idea.

Her thought is for each of us, separately, to come up with travel ideas for the rest of the season. Once we’ve got them written down, we’ll compare and see how much overlap we have. Then we’ll come up with an action plan by combining everything. I’ll let you know how that works out.

This whole season we’ve been pretty much flying by the seat of our pants. There were a few things we definitely wanted to do and we’ve done them or will soon. Our ideas for next winter and the winters after that are all over the place.

One idea is to travel far and fast with a very stripped down kit. My wife’s little car gets more than twice the gas mileage of the Blazer. That would make it feasible to travel further cheaply and we’d cover a lot more ground.

Another idea would be to acquire something like an Aliner trailer for greater comfort. We almost purchased one some years ago but took the path of buying a small sailboat instead. Only one thing can be towed at at time so the Aline plan was shelved . . . but not forgotten.

Speaking of boats, that’s another option. Buying a bigger towed sailboat would make it easier for us spend time on the water, yet avoid the costs of boat storage. Then again, we’d be committed to having a vehicle large enough to tow it.

A boat too large to tow has other fixed costs, like finding a place to store it on the off-season. Then there’s the issue that larger boats have larger problems and expenses. Of course, a more capable boat opens up more distant sailing destinations. Decisions, decisions.

There are other factors influencing us. Heath issues could be one. Last year my problems kept us from going anywhere. Right how our health is pretty good and we are working to make it better. Then there are huge outside issues like the state of the country and the world.

Do we hunker down at our homestead in the woods? What kind of bug out vehicle would be best if things suddenly go south? One thing about us, we are always willing to change plans at the last minute, depending on what’s actually going on. Too many people lack flexibility.

At any rate, it’s good to have options.

-Sixbears

Friday, February 7, 2020

Weather Event

The weather folks predicted a rough night last night -thunderstorms with high wind, rain, and possible tornadoes. We spent it in the tent and we got lucky. No tornadoes and the tent held up to the wind and rain. If there had been a tornado we were instructed to take shelter in the bathhouse as it's well built and has no windows.

Just another day of fun filled adventure.

-Sixbears

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Diversions



It was a good day. The weather got into the 80s. I finally got around to installing a transponder in the sailboat for the depth gauge. In the afternoon my lovely wife and I went snorkeling in the springs. Florida is blessed with numerous natural springs and swimming in them is always on my to do list.

My contact with the news lately has been pretty spotty. However, I see the president has been acquitted. Anyone else curious to see what the witnesses would have had to say? What are the Republican Senators trying to hide? Just wondering.

On the other side of the aisle the Democrats are in disarray. The Iowa caucus has turned into a mess with questionable results. Well, that’s the caucus system for you. NH’s primary is just around the corner. That usually brings a a reshuffling and the end to a number of campaigns.

The coronovirus continues to spread. There are some scary stories coming out of China. Tales of greater repression and hidden massive cremations of victims. This is starting to look a lot like a pandemic. Might be a good time to assess your personal response to potential issues.

On the road we don’t exactly carry a years worth of food. We have a certain amount of dehydrated meals. They don’t take up much room and are quick to prepare. One of the things we’ve been doing lately is building up our cash reserves once more. We depleted them more than we were comfortable with.

One threat you probably aren’t too aware of is the possibility of a satellites colliding with each other. Such a crash could create an expanding debris field that would then take out more satellites -and so on and so on. The odds are very high that nobody will be physically injured by the debris. However, with enough satellites down banking would be crippled. Some communication would still be possible through landlines, but at a greatly reduced volume. We’ve really become dependent on our robots in the sky.

The real threat would be to the military. They would lose their eyes in the sky. A huge amount of intelligence is gathered from above. Also, the military needs satellites for everything from communication to navigation to directing bombs.

Why am I concerned about that right now? This month there’s a higher than normal chance of collisions taking place in space.

All in all, I’d rather not deal with this stuff and go swimming.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Tear down and set up



We’ve had a busy few days. After 14 days at Alexander Springs we had to move on. Our camp got more elaborate during those weeks. Tear down took a while. Then we drove a few miles down the road and set up at Lake Dorr. People have been telling us we should check it out so we booked one night there.

Rather than go through an elaborate set up of our big tent, we pitched the small tent instead. Then we only took enough stuff out of the Blazer to get us through one night.

While there we had a pleasant surprise. A Cajun friend we made two years ago was driving around the campground and recognized us. It was great to catch up. When he has some time off he hopes to get together with us where we are camping now.

This time we set up the big tent as we expect to stay in this campground for 8 days.

One thing about towing a sailboat. It seems there’s always a fellow sailor who has to come over and talk sailing. I don’t mind that one bit. As soon as I pulled into the area where boat trailers are parked a guy literally ran across the campground to talk sailing with me.

-Sixbears

Monday, February 3, 2020

Miracles of Miracles



I can’t believe it. The laptop that had gallons of water dumped on it appears to be working again. That has to be more a function of luck than anything else. All I did was pull the battery and flip the computer upside down overnight. Then it sat a day in the sun. Had the accident happen at home the case would have been pulled off and the innards dried off with a blow dryer. Those tools were not available out here in the campground.

One good day of sun made all the difference. Not only did the computer dry out, our solar electric battery situation is much improved. Nothing in the little refrigeration spoiled when it dropped in a low power mode.

The sun did a lot of good for my personal biological batteries too.

Today we are heading out of Alexander Springs. The plan is to stay in the Ocala for a bit longer, so we aren’t going far. We hope to meet up with my sister-in-law the same day my lovely wife gets her medications refilled. That might take a week or more to sort out.

One of my friends from up north was on the phone with me Sunday. There was a nasty cold going around back home. It was nice to miss out on that. With my damaged lungs colds linger and linger -sometimes until spring.

Still living the dream.

-Sixbears

Sunday, February 2, 2020

. . . and then there was one


Sigh. Brownie the Sailor Dog did a clever thing. I’d just sat down at the picnic table with my larger laptop. It had booted up and was ready to go. Then the dog got excited and decided she had to chase something. Only problem, she was tied up. Her rope happened to catch the leg of the canopy we’d put over the picnic table. It had been raining so there were a few gallons of water trapped in the roof. It all came down on the laptop and me.

The cold water shocked me and then the lights on the laptop went dark. I pulled the battery and opened it up to dry, but there’s not a lot of hope. Maybe when we get home I can pull the drive and see what I can get off it. On the bright side, the vast majority of the data was backed up in cloud storage.

The funny thing is I’d just spend hours looking for the perfect laptop backpack to protect the computers. It actually did protect my second computer as it was in the new backpack and protected from the deluge.

It hasn’t been all that sunny here in Florida. They may have to change their motto if this keeps up. There hasn’t been enough sun to keep my solar powered fridge running properly. Right now we are only keeping things like butter and cheese in it. We should get more sun the next couple of days so my batteries will be charged up once again.

Good thing I’ve got three complete small solar electric systems with me. I’m down to the third one to power this computer and some essentials.

On the bright side I’m feeling good, getting in better shape, and taking off a few pounds.

-Sixbears

Friday, January 31, 2020

There’s cold and there’s cold



It’s been a bit cold, but it’s Florida cold. It’s not the sub-zero temperatures of back home. It’s hard to believe there was a good 70 degree difference between home in northern NH and Florida today.

Monday our time at this campground is up so we’d better have something lined up before then. Once again a major consideration is getting my lovely wife’s prescriptions filled. We were going to be living on the sailboat next, but we’ll most likely put that off for a bit. We don’t want to be stuck on the boat in bad weather as her meds run out. Instead, we are thinking of a state campground further down the state. We’ve been there before, but it’s been a long long time.

Yesterday I pointed out to my lovely wife that we haven’t seen many pop up trailers this trip. Well, today one just pulled in next to us. That’s the universe laughing at me again.

Our old neighbor left us a canopy. It had no instructions. We set it up, but it took some engineering. For a while there I wasn’t sure if our old neighbors liked us or hated us. Eventually it all got sorted. The next time we set up will go smoother. It helps that we now know how it’s supposed to look.

It’s taken a while, but I’m finally starting to like the old Chevy Blazer we purchased. When we were looking for a used vehicle our main requirement was for it to be able to pull a boat. The fact that stuff like the air conditioner works is just bonus. The dog has taken a liking to it. It’s a warm place on cool days and a cool place on hot ones. She’s such a princess.

-Sixbears

Thursday, January 30, 2020

I Voted!



My lovely wife and I cast our votes for the New Hampshire presidential primary.

This is how we had to do it while on the road. When we left in early December, the primary date had not been set so we couldn’t get absentee ballots then. Keeping track of the news, we learned it was set for February 11.

We had to get forms at an on-line NH government website. While we have computers with us, we had to go to a library to print them out. At the time we were down the Keys.

The next step happened while we were camping in the Ocala National Forest. After filling out those forms we called our town hall to find out their fax number. We faxed the forms to the town hall to save time. They mailed our ballots out to us general delivery at a local post office. Earlier we’d stopped in at the local post office to get their exact address.

Once the ballots came in we filled them out. Once filled, they were placed in an affidavit envelope where we had to put our names and address and other info on the envelope and sign it. That envelope went inside another one provided by the town. Then it was mailed out.

The state provides a website with tracking numbers so we could follow the status of our ballots.

It’s a hassle but I feel it’s my civic duty.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

New Day, New Issues


I woke up Tuesday morning, looked over at the Blazer and noticed one of the tires looked low. Sure enough, it was down to 15 pounds. Good thing we travel with a small compressor just for such problems. A local tire place took a look at it right off. Turns out it was just a bad valve core and a quick and easy fix. While there the mechanic pointed out the tires were due for rotation. Sure enough, it was time. They did everything for $20, which I though was a bargain.

News out of China is looking worse all the time. Even my home state of New Hampshire is dealing with a couple of suspected cases. Face and appearances are more important than public safety in China, Doctors had been instructed to keep silent about the disease instead of warning the public. Right now the they are closing the barn door after the horses have left.

How severe the disease is going to be will depend on how virulent it becomes. Health care systems are not prepared to cope with a major outbreak. In the United States there are too many people like me -without health insurance. We don’t go to the doctor’s unless we are dying as it causes financial ruin. That will delay treatment.

Then there’s the issue that people can’t afford to take time off when they are sick. Instead of staying home and getting better, they go out in the public and spread whatever they have.

I guess I’m going to have to pay more attention to the news instead of blissfully ignoring most of it. With that in mind, it’s time to shop for a new cell phone. Mine is randomly dying and unreliable. Odds are it won’t last us the next couple of months. Such is life.

My lovely wife and I are looking at possibly moving back on the boat for the next part of our adventure.

-Sixbears