Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Trip preparations

When we moved my almost-son-in-law from North Carolina to Utah, a lot of things ended up staying here in Tennessee, thing he didn't want to move or store, and he left them with the purpose of us selling or donating or otherwise disposing of them. All those totes and boxes holding his things are stacked and packed in the sheds in front and on top of the totes holding all my "stuff" that came out of the camper when he borrowed it. Today was a day for unpacking the sheds, digging through boxes and totes looking for my stuff to put back in the travel trailer. Easier said than done. The weather is NOT cooperating, dishing up some rain and a lot of heat and VERY humid conditions.

While it was still cool this morning I hooked up the TT and took it into town to the dealership and had them remove the single propane tank bracket and mount a sturdier one that will hold two tanks. The SIL had purchased two forty gallon tanks and an auto-switching valve this past winter, and had them hooked up sitting next to the trailer this winter. When we were loading up his things in NC he donated them to me.  Nice guy! :) The dealer got the new bracket mounted on the tongue, topped off both tanks and checked the tire pressure. The longest hose he had on hand is a bit short, and he ordered a longer one that should be in on Friday.The tanks look quite large, but they're solidly attached, and they should really reduce the number of refills needed if I'm up still up north after it gets cold.

Last evening while I was outside mowing the neighbor stopped by. He said he had something I might be interested in for the Caboose, a very large 6000W pure sine wave inverter. I told him it was bigger than I thought I would ever need for the Caboose, but he has been interested in my Yamaha V-Star ever since I moved it down here, and we did a bit of trading. He got the bike, I got the inverter and a nice chunk of cash. I'm a bit sad to see the bike go. I bought it new in May of 2006, and by May of 2007 I had put almost 18,000 miles on it. I rode it until I crashed in May of 2009, when I was off bikes for a full year. Shortly after I was able to ride again I bought my 2009 VStrom and the V-Star has been sitting by the wayside ever since. It really needed a new home, and the neighbor was thrilled, so in the end we're both happy.

While I was at the RV dealership, the female owner came inside and was almost-but-not-quite- screaming about some bug. I went outside to check it out, and this is what I found.WARNING: VERY CREEPY INSECT PHOTOS FOLLOW AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!!
This is seriously the creepiest bug I think I've seen, mainly due to the size of the insect and the size of the mandibles. Meet the eastern dobsonfly, Corydalus cornutus. This is a female, the male's mandibles are MUCH longer, up to half the length of the body (approximately as long as this girl's antennae). I had never seen one before, although research shows "The dobsonfly is found throughout most of eastern North America east of the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico near flowing streams which provide habitat for its larvae." They are considered beneficial.

This one was showing signs of advanced age, she tried to fly once but only made it a few feet off the ground and quickly crashed. I scooped her up into a baggie and she expired a short time later. No way would I have tried to photograph her next to my hand if she was still living, the females pack a very painful bite. The mandibles on the male are so long they lack the ability to put much of a pinch into their bite.


  1. I hope I never run into one of these insects. It looks like they could take your finger off if they wanted to. I prefer the big propane tanks although I'm sure I couldn't lift a full one up these days.

  2. Looks like ya got a couple of 40lbers on there, nice bottles :). Does that inverter come with some interesting conversion plug, because, I've not see a 20 amp outlet quite like that....

  3. The 40 pound bottles should be good this fall. Last year I was having to take a 20 pound bottle into town every 3 days or so to fill, and at 35 miles round trip that added up. Lifting a full 40 pounder may be interesting, but I'm pretty resourceful when it comes to dealing with my lack of upper body strength.
    Matt,the inverter came just as it is. According to the website it is a "universal socket that can suit for USA , EU , AU , UK etc plug". They sell on eBay for around $700, and I got cash for what I wanted out of the bike so the inverter is just extra. Hopefully it's something I can use in the Caboose rebuild. I'm pretty clueless about electricity, but I have a friend who is an electrician and I plan to enlist his help when I get to the wiring part of the build.