Every day stuff.
When I was much younger – and living the Life of Riley—I was famous (infamous?) for sleeping late. Not just into the morning, mind you but, into the afternoon—sometimes late afternoon.
The older I get, the earlier I wake up—and not for any particular reason either. And now, on the road (and in the forests along the way), my typical wake up time is around 5AM, at least an hour before the sun itself awakens.
Oh, sometimes I curse the clock when I realize I’m completely awake at 4AM! However, there’s always that call of a whistling teapot to brighten any bad feelings I might have about being up long before the dawn!
In my relatively new role as TheMinivanExplorer, I have learned there are some things that I must do to make living life easier in the Sienna.
Make the bed!
I also once read a study that concluded leaving your bed a “shambles,” as my grandma, Constance, used to say, fights bedbugs from moving in.
Today, the worry is more about forest spiders than bedbugs, I must admit.
But, making sure the covers are right—and straight—is very important for both a warm and a good night’s sleep in the Sienna (I don’t want to be fooling around with unruly covers while half asleep)!
O-Genki desu ka
Also, bumps and blanket mountain ranges impede my movements around the top of the bed as I use the hand grips to maneuver around my cozy Japanese-hotel-style “bedroom” in my Japanese-Toyota-minivan!
The table is always first!
It took me a little time to teach myself that “the table is always first” in everything I do involving a flat surface! Despite my affinity for the amazing Coleman butane stove, it is still going to need a place to sit after it’s removed from its storage case!
And you would be surprised what a difference it makes in keeping warm when you are organized in making that coffee! Once the water is in the teapot and on the burner, it’s then you mess with the coffee filter, the coffee, sugar and Mini-Moos!
By the time the pot whistles, you’re ready to make some java. Perform these steps out of the proper sequence and you will be needing your gloves!
Cleanup is, of course, reversing the order of operation—being careful to be sure everything is clean—away from your campsite—and to put everything in its place.
Take out the trash!
I don’t just play lip service to that concept anymore. I am proud to say that I have not left a single scrap of garbage behind—anywhere I’ve been while traveling.
Moreover, I’ve become quite sensitive to other people leaving trash around my beautiful forest! I’ve spent more than a dozen hours, combined, cleaning up the trash left at campsites by other, disrespectful-of-nature-users and even at some rest stops I have visited.
Those dirty bastards!
There was one particular spot in Mendocino where someone had stuck an aluminum can onto the branch of a tree that I drove past everyday on the way to “cellular signal valley”—which bothered the crap out of me!
On my very last day there, I stopped—on quite a precarious bend in the mountain road, I might add—got out, and removed that can from the forest.
My sister tells me to use the word “precise” instead of that “retentive” term! And I… precisely cleared that stupid can from my pristine forest—oh yes I did, Sis!
I’ve got myself in the habit of doing that every time. And, as Martha Stewart says, “that’s a good thing.”
It’s astonishing how much moisture the forest flotsam retains—and with one touch of it with your thermal socks, they’re done for—for a few days.
Oh, you must have known I would get to the bears in this post! Yesss, bears can smell your garbage from miles away!
So, washing your dishes, dumping food you haven’t finished and packing up your garbage (opened cans/packaging, banana peels, coffee grounds in used filters—and dozens of empty Mini Moos containers—etc.) is best dealt with in real time.
That means everything that isn’t truly packable trash is performed at a campsite away from yours!
Once, at Yosemite, I was horrified to see some campers arriving at a nearby site where I had just washed my pans and dumped some unfinished taters a couple hours before.
I determined right then and there that I would try to come to their rescue should they get a visit from our large furry friends!
How magnanimous of me!
That was before I had discovered yellow curry makes bears sick to their stomachs and all I really had to do was sprinkle some of it on any thrown-away food to ensure they don’t stick around for very long.
I warned you the last time!
Yes, in yesterday’s post I told you that today’s post was, most likely, going to be kind of boring. But, I always deliver on what I promise – even if it takes me some time to commit at first!
In keeping with the whole idea of The Minivan Explorer, who knows what’s next!?
Happy trails my friends!