The Great Winter Boondocking Vacation, 2012-2013

Started by ClydesdaleKevin, November 24, 2012, 08:15 AM

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Got most of it done, but the new freshwater tank threw me for a loop and ended up being a few hour project instead of a quick inspection...although I'm sure glad I checked my work!

First I filled the tank about half way to make sure the bottom fittings weren't leaking.  No leaks!  Woohoo!  So I turned off one valve, coming from the main freshwater tank, and opened up the valve to the new freshwater tank, and turned on the water pump.  Nothing.  Nada.  Not a drop... $@!#@!

Its well vented, so I wasn't sure what was going on.  I turned off the water pump and opened the drain valve on the new tank, and at least the water started to drain...slowly, but not so slow that there seemed to be any kind of problem.  I could only guess that even though the lower fitting I used as the main outlet had a plug in it, maybe it wasn't drilled out? 

While the water was draining, I sprayed the grill down with EZ-Off oven cleaner, scrubbed it in with a wire brush, and let it sit for a little over an hour. Which is about how long it took for the tank to drain.  So I sprayed off the EZ-Off, and recoated it and scrubbed it in, and since the tank was still draining, checked all my tire pressures and fluids, then checked the air bag pressures.  Once again, the driver's side was still just over 60psi, and the passenger side was down to around 35.  Must be one of the fittings.  Anyhow, no time to deal with that now, so out came the onboard compressor, and I topped it off to just over 60 PSI...I run them right around 63 psi on my stick gauge to account for the inaccuracy of a stick gauge, and the slight loss of pressure when removing the gauge.

By the time I did all that, it was time to rinse off the grill and recoat it with the EZ-Off...we used the Grill version...and by then the new freshwater tank was empty.  Out came my hack saw, since I had used CPVC pipe and fittings and that was the only way to unscrew the fitting, and unscrewed it...and sure enough, the threaded bung on the bottom of the tank had never been drilled out!  I had assumed it fact the thought never even crossed my mind...since it had a plastic plug in it when I bought it.  I drilled it out and then went to my plumbing tool box for a coupler...and realized I had at least one of every fitting BUT the 1/2 inch coupler I needed... $@!#@!

Off to the hardware store!  Fortunately, there is a True Value that I drove past on one of our road trips one town over, in Somerset, TX, about 6 miles from camp.  A whole .31 cents later, I returned to camp and then screwed in the fitting, glued on the coupler, and then while the glue was drying, went out and scrubbed down the grill thoroughly with a stainless brillo pad, and then rinsed the whole thing down thoroughly with clean water.  I set the grill back up on its mount to let it dry, and then went back to the freshwater tank project. 

Time to refill it again!  I let it fill to about half way, and then ran my systems test again...PERFECT!  Water flowing out of the faucet at full pressure, no leaks, and all was well!

I was going to drain out the tank and call it done, but then I had a sneaking suspicion that kept clawing at the back of my brain...why did the RV dealer sell me this tank so cheap?  I decided to fill the tank right to capacity to make sure there weren't any leaks!

And its a good thing I did!  There was a barely visible, but far from insignificant crack, about an inch and a half long, right under the fill spout, about a half inch down!  Water started pouring out of it!  I turned off the hose and turned on the pump and water to get the water level below the crack as quickly as possible.  Not much spilled into the rig thankfully.  Its a tricky looking can barely see it or even feel it, but its there, and it does leak badly!

Once the water was a few inches below the crack, it was Eternabond to the rescue!  I dried the tank surface thoroughly, and then took a large piece of Eternabond tape and cut a U shaped notch in it so it would cradle the filler spout and cover the crack completely at the same time, and pushed in all down until I was sure of the adhesion.  Then I took another piece without a notch and put it over that piece below the filler and wider than the first piece to reinforce it, and pushed that all down hard until I was sure of the adhesion.  Then I topped off the tank with the hose until water was shooting out of the filler port!  No leaks!  Gotta LOVE Eternabond!

Moral of the story: Always check your work!  I almost didn't bother checking it. I mean, I did the work myself, right?  I know how to plumb something in, I know I did everything right...why check it?  Glad I did!  It would have been a royal pain in the arse to fix it in the middle of the desert!  27 miles one way to the nearest town!  I got lucky that the drain bung HAD been drilled, or else I would have had to fish a garden hose into the tank filler spout, hook it to my Shurflo water transfer pump, and drain it that way...doable with my system, but I'm glad I only had to cut and reglue one side!  Glad I double checked and filled it all the way too!  Not only would it have sucked getting to our destination with 2/3rds of a tank, all that water would have damaged stuff that we store under the bed, nevermind the floors!

So the tank was tested and fixed and fully operational, the grill was clean and drying on its mount, so now it was time to compile a shopping list with Patti and run to the local market, the HEB (I'm sure it stands for Hick's Eating Badly).  That required a car trip down to Military Drive, a VERY congested and busy road in the suburbs of San Antonio.  I hate driving in busy Texas cities!  Anyhow, made the trip, got everything on the list and then some, and got back to camp with SOME daylight left.

Patti put the groceries away while I took advantage of the dying light and packed up the porch furniture, the dry grill, and the porch mat into the Jeep.  The skies have been ominous all day, so I wasn't sure if it was going to rain tonight or not.  Didn't want to pack wet stuff into the Jeep in the morning if I didn't have to!  Then I took the pups out.  And by then it was dark!

So I didn't get the bikes loaded on the Jeep and the Jeep hooked up to the tow bar, but at least everything else is done. 

Just a side note.  I often post about all the stuff I do, how long it took, how tired I got doing it, etc.  I usually forget to post all the stuff Patti does.  Without her logistical support, my lifestyle, and everything I get done, wouldn't be possible.  She's not just laying back and letting me work.  While I'm doing what I'm doing, she's cleaning the house, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, folding it and putting it away, feeding the dogs, brushing the dogs, brushing dog hair out of the carpets, vacuuming, cooking dinner, making breakfast, etc. etc. etc.  When it comes to the business side of things, she does it all.  Making phone calls, getting contracts, taking orders, filling out all the paperwork, getting insurance forms taken care of, organizing our itinerary...and a lot of this she does not just for OUR business, but for both of our franchisees.  She works harder than I do.  Sometimes I forget to mention that.  She's my best friend, my business partner, a relentless taskmaster, and the love of my life. 

Anyhow, I'm rambling again!  Tomorrow morning I'll hook up the Jeep, strap on the bikes, and its off to Tombstone!


Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


I must agree about Patti.  Having had the pleasure of getting one of her patented hugs, she is the sweetest, nicest, not to mention good looking, person you would ever want to meet.

1984 Holiday Rambler
1997 Newmar Kountry Star


Patti said "awwwwwwwwww" when she read your post Dan!  You made her day!

Almost time to hook up the Jeep and bikes and hit the road!  After a shower and shave of course.

326 miles from here to Fort Stockton, our first stop along the way.  Then its just over 261 miles to Anthony, TX, our second stop.  Then its only 144 miles or so from there to Lordsburg, NM.  And finally, its just a mere 134 miles to Tombstone!  Sweet!

Long trips are always a lot easier when you break them down into small chunks.

Our main freshwater tank is about 1/2 full, so I'll fill it before we leave.  I don't like driving through the desert without a full tank on board, even though it adds weight.  Ya never know if your might break down en route, and having water in the desert is pretty important!

Okay...about to get started on getting us on the road!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


Merry Christmas and safe travels to all of you. 


Touchdown in Fort Stockton!  A completely mechanically uneventful leg of the journey!

And thanks Joan!

As you get deeper and deeper into Texas, you are constantly climbing and gaining elevation.  I learned pretty quickly on the LONG steep hills to kick in the secondaries at around 50mph, or else you end up in second gear doing 40mph, with the secondaries still wide!

Average hill-climbing elevation-gaining MPG so far:  6.4

I can live with that!  We're going up up up!

I'm still learning the ways of the new Edelbrock, but once I figured it out, there hasn't been a single hill so far that I couldn't take at just under 50mph, without slowing down and maintaining that speed.  Most of the hills I could take at just under 55 without opening up the secondaries.  Some I had no choice but to open up the secondaries if I wanted to maintain at least 50 or so, but what great power!  Some long climbs so far, and a lot more to come!  Water temp never got over 195 degrees, and the transmission temp never got over 150 degrees.  SWEET!

I had a chance to try out the new high beam setup as well this evening, and OMG!  The difference is night and day, no pun intended!  These lights really light up the road!  Awesome!

Tomorrow we'll be going through El Paso and land for the night on the border of New Mexico in a small Texas town called Anthony at a Flying J.  Tonight we are staying at a generic truck stop off of I-10 in Fort Stockton, since the lot was almost empty and it was easy to get in and out of.  They have a Burger King as well in case we want any breakfast in the morning without having to cook it!

Gonna check the fluids in the morning, gas up, and get back on the road fairly early...although our short trip tomorrow of 261 miles doesn't require us to get a very early start by any means.  We'll spend Christmas Eve on the road and then in Anthony, and then open our presents to each other on Christmas day...then get back on the road! DOES Santa deliver presents to an RV?  Does he come down the sewer vent pipe?  Maybe the fridge vent?  Hmmmmmm.... Hm?

This has been a delightful and stress free trip so far!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


As projects get done one by one, I keep thinking about new projects I'd like to do, new mods to the rig to increase power and gas mileage, and the like.

The things that HAVE to be done first as a priority is to replace the driver's windshield this year...the top to bottom crack has lasted since I've owned the RV, but its a safety issue...if another rock kicks up and hits it while driving on the highway, its integrity is already compromised.  Another thing that HAS to be done right away...or at least after the Oklahoma faire in May, is to raise the rear tag axle and level the rig so more weight sits on the front tires to eliminate the steering float I get.  And the last thing that HAS to be done as a priority is six more new tires, probably Samson 8R-19.5s.

After those things are done, its time to get creative and start getting even more power and fuel economy.  I think a Banks header system with cold air induction...using a snorkeled Spectre air cleaner housing...would be about the best system possible.  Anyone ever us those little carburetor cyclones?  I've heard mixed reviews, but some folks swear by them.  And yep, seriously going to start looking for a Gear Vendor's overdrive for my transmission...used of course because a new one would NEVER pay itself off, but if I could get one for around 500 bucks to a grand...hmmmm...Even thinking about those silly turbulence triangles to put all along the back of the RV...they are also supposed to help with better fuel economy.  My ultimate goal would be able to get a solid 10 mpg out of this thing, while still being able to hit every hill I meet at at least 55 mph!

Gas prices are only going to get higher, so anything I do now will only make a better impact in the future.

A deeper oil pan and transmission pan wouldn't be bad ideas either.

Then of course are all the little cosmetic things, that are lower on the priority list but definitely things we want to get done.  Reupholster the dash, redo the pin striping, make new cushions for the love seat cedar chest, reupholster the dinette cushions, replace the kitchen countertop, bathroom vanity top, dinette table top, and washer/dryer top with Corian, replace the carpets (again), wallpaper the walls, finish the LED light replacements completely, etc.

Then there is the dream list that would probably never get done, like a 4X4 conversion and lift, rocket launchers, .50 caliber machine guns, bullet proof glass and armor, James Bond style oil slickers, smoke canisters, and caltrop droppers built into the rear bumper........

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


OH!  By the way, Patti set up and decorated our little Christmas Tree!  Its so CUTE!  She even secured its little legs to the dinette table with Gorilla Tape...covered by the miniature tree it wouldn't move while we traveled.  I took a bunch of pictures but can't find my camera cord right coming soon!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


Quote from: ClydesdaleKevin on December 23, 2012, 09:28 PM

Then there is the dream list that would probably never get done, like a 4X4 conversion and lift, rocket launchers, .50 caliber machine guns, bullet proof glass and armor, James Bond style oil slickers, smoke canisters, and caltrop droppers built into the rear bumper........


You forgot the diesel swap..... :)rotflmao


LOL Wantawinnie!  That is certainly a future possibility...waiting to see how yours works out first!

About to hit the road again...gotta check the fluids, go get breakfast at BK, fuel up, and head West again!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


Hey Kev I checked MPG with full water tank and with empty tank over the same roads same distance on the turnpike from Monroeville to North Wales  MPG was the same  I have a 40 gal tank .   Frank
"The Journey is the REWARD !"
Member of 15 years. We will always remember you, Frank.


look up "air tabs"proven to work lot of truckers have them on the back on the cab/ sleeper and the back of the trailer  there mini vortex generators 1/2 mpg or better on a big truck and keeps the trailer doors clean.


Thanks Frank and 007!

Hmmmm...we kept climbing and climbing, and the gas mileage went down to 6.1 mpg.  That was with opening the secondaries and maintaining about 50-55 mph on all but the steepest hills, and those we were able to take at around 48mph.

I checked our elevation gain, and I guess we didn't do to badly considering we are around 4000 feet above sea level, and started out at sea level when we left Louisiana.  San Antonio sits at a elevation of 700 feet or so, so we climbed that over a span of over 500 miles.  From San Antonio to Fort Stockton, Texas, which sits at over 3000 feet, means we climbed 2300 feet in 326 miles, and we just climbed 1000 feet in 260 miles.  We still have about another 500 feet of climbing to do, since both Lordsburg, NM and Tombstone sit at about the same elevations (around 4500 feet), with the terrain in between being comparable in elevations.  After tombstone, its all downhill from there.  Safford, AZ sits at 2900 feet, and from there we go to Tonto National forest, about the same elevation...and then down down down to Apache Junction, AZ, elevation 1700 feet.

All the climbing makes a difference!  The altitude effected the idle speed as well...she was idling way too low when we got here...around 500 rpm, so I had to adjust it back up to 700.  Nice and steady idle, but definitely too low.  I didn't realize altitude could effect the idle speed as much as it did!  Or maybe is the lower octane rating of the gas here, or the lower ethanol content?

Just as we came through El Paso (by far the ugliest wart on the arse of the earth I have ever seen...the sprawl just goes on and on and on!) and over the pass, the wind started picking up.  And got worse and worse as we kept onward towards the border and our stop for the night in Anthony, TX.  Right now we are sitting in the parking lot of the Flying J, and the wind is rocking the rig like all getout!

We gassed up, I washed the windshield, then calculated the mileage for the last leg of the journey...6.1...and then parked the RV in the RV parking and took the pups out.  We then went in and bought a dinner To-Go at Denny's and are now cloistered in our rig for the night, listening to and feeling the high winds.  I hope its not as windy tomorrow!

Tomorrow morning is Christmas and we are going to open our presents!  Then its check the fluids, and hop back on the road to Lordsburg, NM for the night.  Then a very early start the next morning to get to Tombstone in plenty of time to set up camp and start the best part of our vacation!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Patti loved her presents...the first 3 seasons of!  And she got me Diablo we'll have something to do in the desert if we run out of other things to do.

About to take the pups out, check the oil and other fluids, and get on the road to Lordsburg, NM, a very short trip today...only 144 miles, so we aren't in any hurry.  The winds died way down thankfully, so it should be an easy and uneventful journey.

Tomorrow morning we definitely want to get an early start.  Even though the last leg of our trip is only 134 miles to Tombstone, we want to get to the campground early enough to set up camp while its still light out, and stretch our legs in that awesome little pet friendly town!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


A VERY short trip!  About 3 hours of driving, more climbing, last MPG check=6.1 mpg.  I wonder if some of that has to do with the much thinner atmosphere/oxygen at 4500 feet above sea level?  I'm sure most of it has to do with climbing all this!  Secondaries had to be deployed a LOT!

One odd thing though about the altitude...I had to reset my idle mixture screws when we got here to Lordsburg, NM!  The idle had dropped to under 400 rpm...I ruled out the obvious and checked for vacuum leaks with carb cleaner, and there were I backed out both idle mixture screws 1/2 turn and the idle jumped back up.  I set the idle to 700, then screwed down the screws, one at a time, until the idle dropped, then backed them out 1/2 turn, reset the idle to 700 rpm, and its fine and steady again.  Must be a big difference in air density!  I set them to the very lean side at sea level before starting this trip, and had to reset them to this altitude, which is about where we'll be at most of our time in Arizona, all the way until the end of April.

Gonna spend the night here in Lordsburg, NM, then tomorrow morning, bright and early, hit the road for the last 134 miles of the trip and get to Tombstone bright and early!


Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


Appears your timing was a little close.  The weather and tornadoes moving across your track behind you were a little too close.

Merry Christmas and safe travels.


PS: From:

High altitude usually has three effects on carbureted fuel systems...

1. Air less dense.
Less dense air usually has less molecules of oxygen in it.
This may lead to an over rich mixture.

2. Less air pressure.
The higher up you go, the less air pressure on everything, including your vehicle engine.
It's a common misconception that engines 'Suck' air into the cylinders. They DO NOT.

The piston goes down on the intake stroke, creating a low pressure cell in the cylinder.
(commonly referred to as 'vacuum', and mother nature hates a vacuum)

The air pressure outside the engine rushes into the engine to fill the low pressure cell in the cylinder.
As it enterers the engine through the carburetor, it gets fuel added to it.
If the outside air pressure is lower, less pressure is available force air into the cylinder.

Combine less pressure with less oxygen in the air, but the same amount of fuel being delivered, and you have a rich condition.

3. Fuel bowl floats are flat on the bottom, and sealed for a reason.
The flat surface creates the optimum amount of lift for the needle and seat.

When the float was sealed at around 500' above sea level, it was set with a specific internal pressure.
When you take the float up the mountain, the external pressure drops, but the internal pressure can not equalize, because the float is sealed.

The internal pressure makes the float 'swell up' in most cases.
The float becomes rounder, and the flat surface on the bottom is lost, and the float sets deeper in the fuel mix, allowing fuel levels to rise.

The float may also distort to the point that increased angles will affect it.
It can also rupture and leak, causing erratic fuel metering.

Increased fuel levels will cause a rich condition.


1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


Good info Dave!  So maybe what I ended up doing was lean it out...seems like I ended up screwing the screws in further than before to achieve the idle drop, so when backed out 1/2 turn, they weren't backed out as far as before.  Whatever I did, it seems to have worked!

Ummm...what tornados and weather?  I wasn't even aware anything was going on behind!  I was just checking the daily weather wherever we happened to be at a given time.

So once I get some coffee into me, I'll check the fluids again, and back on the road we go!  So far we haven't used any oil, radiator fluid, trans fluid, power steering fluid, diff fluid, or brake fluid since I changed the oil almost 3000 miles ago...SWEET!  That's always a good thing!

Just a little over 130 miles to Tombstone, so we should arrive there sometime this very early afternoon.  Excellent!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


QuoteUmmm...what tornados and weather?

You know, those twisty things  :)  While it brought havoc to the south yesterday, it is bringing me this this morning.



LOL Dave!  We knew the storm was coming, but were pretty sure we were ahead of and under it in latitude.

No problems making it to Tombstone!  MPG 6.3...a little

Camp is all set up, Patti is delighted to have cable TV, although the free wifi is WAY slower than our Verizon connection, so we are using our own, and even after Patti showered and did her hair and makeup, we still had plenty of time to walk through the town and have dinner at the Crystal Palace. 

I got a new old one doesn't really fit anymore since I lost the 75 lbs!...I didn't know your head could get fat!  Anyhow, the Stetson shop put foam spacers in my Stetson for me so I can still wear it comfortably, but I went ahead and got another one in the right size while I was at it.  My hat size shrank from 7 5/8 to 7 3/8!  Big difference!  I like the new hat too...dark brown, same crown as my old one, but a slightly smaller brim and a different bend to the brim...I like 'em both!  Which one I wear will depend on what else I'm wearing I guess.

Tomorrow we'll be taking the pups into town at least once, and then go back into town and look in all the shops and whatnot and do touristy stuff.

Some time this week we'll go to Bisbee, which we didn't have time to see last year.

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


Well, the hat box the new Stetson came in will certainly come in handy...gotta mail out the air cleaner and carburetor today, and the hat box is big enough for the air! 

Its going to be pretty chilly today...with a barely believable chance of rain, so Patti and I are going to drive down to Sierra Vista, mail everything out, do some grocery shopping, and pick up Patti's prescription at the pharmacy.

Bisbee, AZ isn't too far from here or Sierra Vista...sort of a triangle with Tombstone on top, and the lower two points being Sierra Vista and Bisbee, all about 25 miles from each we might take a side trip into Bisbee just to scope it out as a scouting mission, so we know how many days to dedicate to seeing that town...looks pretty neat in the pictures!

Gotta let the coffee kick in first though!


Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


Bisbee is a one neat little town!  Not so little compared to Tombstone!

We stopped there first, mailed out the carburetor and air cleaner, and then decided to walk around a bit.  A bit became several hours, and we decided to go to Sierra Vista tomorrow!

One of the places we stopped in is this AWESOME custom hatmaking shop called Optimo Hatworks.  The artist that owns the place has been custom making hats since 1980...he said the reason he started doing it was because he couldn't find a good!  He reshaped the crown of my new Stetson in minutes with a steamer...he said it shouldn't touch the top of head when wearing it, so he raised it a bit without changing the look of it, elongated the headband area so it fit my long oval dome, and didn't charge me a penny.

I'm going to bring my other Stetson to him when we go back.  He said he can shrink it to fit my head, clean it up a bit, replace the leather sweat band, and keep the price down for all that to a very modest level.  He has lower end wool felt hats, crushable and all, but his top level hats use pure furs in the felts, no blends like almost every other hat maker out there.  When his hat says beaver felt, its 100% beaver, not 10-40% like even the highest end Stetsons.  His beaver hats start at 800 bucks...the rabbit starts at 400 bucks.  Expensive!  But each hat is custom fitted to your melon, and because of the quality of the felt, they'll last a lifetime.  Maybe someday I'll be able to justify 800 bucks for a custom for now I'll just have him fix my favorite old Stetson for around 60 bucks or less!

Tomorrow its Sierra Vista to pic up the prescription at the drug store and do some grocery shopping, and then probably back to Bisbee for the weekend, or more fun in Tombstone, or whatever else we feel like doing on our vacation!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


Sierra Vista today...and maybe a segway back to Bisbee to the hat shop to have my old Stetson fixed...we'll see what Patti feels like doing though.

Coffee is kicking in! 

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


Went to Sierra Vista and picked up Patti's scrip and groceries and some other stuff Patti needed at Sally's Beauty Supply, and then off to Bisbee we went!

I didn't know resizing and custom fitting my hat to my head was so labor intensive or involved!  They took a mold of my head with this antique device that looked like something out of a torture!...and it turns out I have a VERY long oval head, so an off the shelf hat wouldn't fit me right no matter what size I bought. 

Not only is he shrinking the hat over a form the same size and shape as my head...what he calls 7 1/2 plus extra long oval...he uses little blocks and whatnot and gets it to the EXACT conformity of your head.  Then he's hand sewing in a brand new lambskin sweat band instead of the cheapo stiff leather one that Stetson uses on all their hats now, with this neat little hat keeper he came up with....sort of like a one sided lanyard attached to a safety pin.  If you think its going to be windy out, you pin the lanyard to your collar, and the wind won't send your hat flying off into the dust!  You can also pin it back on itself to use it as a hanger loop in your car or on an airplane, etc.  When not in use, it tucks under the sweat band inside the hat.

He's going to reuse my liner...he said it was fine and pretty much the same material he uses, and would save me 15 bucks to reuse my liner.  He's also going to clean the hat and re-ponce it...meaning sand it down pretty much so the felt nap is smoother than what Stetson puts out nowadays. 

He's going to raise the crown a bit, just like my other hat, so my pointy melon doesn't contact the inside top of the hat when wearing it. 

And lastly, we are getting rid of the cheezy looking hat band that came with the hat and he's going to install a beautiful 1/2 inch wide hand woven horsehair band on the hat in tans and really dresses up the hat and looked great during the test fit! 

ALL of this work and labor:  90 bucks! 

Would have been 50 bucks cheaper but I loved the hat band.  I gave him half down, and we pay him the other half when we pick it up in a couple of weeks.

Hopefully it will be done before we leave Tombstone on January 10th, and he said it MIGHT be ready by then...but he's very very busy, and the type of work he does is very labor and hour intensive.  It will definitely be done before we finish vacation, so I'm hoping its done no later than time to leave Hot Wells Dunes in Safford, since its not a crazy long drive from Safford to Bisbee.  He can ship, but I'd rather pick it up in person to test the fit and have any final adjustments made. 

I know...why get so excited about a silly hat?  Because I wear hats all the time, especially my Stetson, so its worth it to me.  We paid 225.00 for the hat last year, and were pleasantly surprised when he looked at the hat and said it was one of the better quality ones he's seen by Stetson in a while.

I'm seriously considering having him make me a custom 100% beaver hat next year, a replica of my beloved old Stetson, but we'll see!  Its a lot of money to spend on a hat, but it supports a fellow handcrafter and artisan, its hand made in the USA, and there is no finer quality hat out there on the planet!

As far as my new Stetson goes?  Its going to be my more modern beater hat.  Sort of like a wider brimmed fedora, and not bad quality at all, just nothing special even though it looks nice and fits nice enough (buying a hat stretcher to increase the oval length before we leave here).  I'm going to have my buddy Pete make me a custom hatband for the new Stetson at the AZ Renfaire this year out of flat braided paracord...its the survivalist/Boy Scout in me...and also add a paracord traditional lanyard to it to use on very windy days.  Probably store a couple of other goodies under the hat band as well, like a cardboard covered one sided razor blade, the kind made for utility knives.  Be prepared!

The Tilley is going to be my extreme beater hat, for extreme hot weather when I don't want an unventilated felt hat on my noggin.  (I am very pale being predominately Scottish, so I'm very prone to sunburn.  Thus the reason I always wear a wide brimmed hat now that I'm older and wiser).

Anyhow, enough about hats and boring you to tears!

After getting fitted and dropping off my precious Stetson, we walked around some different streets in Bisbee, and checked out some other stores.

It snowed in Bisbee last night, and in the shade it hadn't melted off yet, and some of the roads were icy and you had to be careful...but we have a Jeep YJ, so it was all good.

Then we drove back to Tombstone, checked out a gun shop owned by former Rennies, then put the groceries away.

And then it was time to take the pups on a walk through Tombstone again!!!

They LOVE that part of the day!  Everyone petting them, water dishes everywhere, and their favorite treat:  The water buckets put out for the horses, flavored ever so well with horse slobber!  They love the slobberwater!

Patti wanted to look in some shops, so I took the pups home and met her at a custom leather worker shop.  We window shopped until around 5, when everything started to close up and it started getting cold, and are back in the RV all snug and warm!

Tomorrow its more of Tombstone!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


We had a relaxing night together, so today we are going to see more of Tombstone.  Actually considering buying property out here depending on zoning laws.  Can get an acre for 2000-7000 bucks, but would only consider it if they allow you to set up an off grid powered, etc.  Water would be a consideration, but a lot of the places out here use either wells, or have water delivered to storage tanks.  Not sure what the septic system rules are out here if you use a composting toilet and only have grey water...which could be recycled with a large solar distilling pool.  Gotta check the rules!

Anyhow, coffee is kicking in, and we are about to explore some more of Tombstone!  We love this little town!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


We have our reservations for New Years Eve dinner at the Crystal Palace again, and Patti modified her Renaissance court garb outfit to look like a Victorian dress...she's going to look adorable! I have to go in town today with her to pick out a few items of clothing so I can get all cowboy'd up.  I'll make sure we take lots of pictures!  Wish I had my other Stetson (still at the shop), but the new one will do!  Gonna go John Wayne this year:  breaches, bib front shirt, boots, hat, holster (no gun though...its a saloon), and scarf.  Probably pic up a duster jacket since its going to be cold tonight, and all the Frontier Classics clothing is so affordable in this town.  Got everything already except the breeches, shirt, and scarf (and possibly duster), so it won't be expensive.

Gonna have a great time tonight!

Happy New Years Eve everybody!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.