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Friday, December 4, 2009 - Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad NM

Snowsbirds at rest, Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad NM, December 1, 2009
Snowsbirds at rest, Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad NM, December 1, 2009

This year I was determined to leave the northeast a month earlier than my usual November 15th departures. I didn't make it - the grinning gods kept me busy with mechanical problems - it was November 20th by the time I tamed them enough to dare head out.

The last two winters I went south first, spent some time at the wonderful Foscue Creek Campground I stumbled on in Demopolis AL that first winter, then headed west to New Mexico. This year I reacted to my frustrations in getting an early start and made a beeline to NM - right into an early winter storm. And back east? They're enjoying a beautiful late fall, warm and dry. Ah well, this too shall pass. Next week is forecast to be bright and sunny out here. We are ready and waiting.

The pump is in

In hand that is. Amazon got it shipped and delivered with the overnight shipping I sprung for and beat their estimated Monday delivery. Good. Tomorrow the weather should break and installing the pump will give me a project for the weekend.

On fulltiming and stuff

One challenge to living a mobile life I'm still getting used to is the problem of where to receive goods and mail. Many but not all campgrounds will graciously accept shipments. Most but not all post offices will accept general delivery packages. UPS will accept packages addressed to their Customer Centers with a hold for pickup.

Kate last year convinced me to subscribe to Amazon Prime which, for an annual fee, offers free two day shipping on a wide range of the products Amazon sells (need a new toothbrush?). This is a real boon to one living the mobile life. Finding local sources for stuff can frustrating. Especially when looking for stuff that's not in every Walmart or hardware store. Take this water pump for instance. Amazon carries the full line of Shurflo pumps. But I was in town anyway so before ordering one I visited a local RV dealer here in Carlsbad to see if they had the pump I wanted on the shelf. Nope, but they could order one for me, then blanched when I mentioned Amazon's price which was below their cost. If it had been on the shelf I probably would have bought it. But as it was I could get one faster from Amazon and cheaper to boot.

This high tech database driven world is a wonderful thing in a travelers life but it does have its quirks. When I got back to the park I talked with a park ranger to be sure they accept packages and to get the address so I could place my pump order with Amazon. Sure, fine. But Amazon's database wouldn't recognize the address as a valid address and wouldn't ship to it. Well gee. So I had the pump shipped to the local UPS Customer Center and held for pickup which worked out just fine - once I found the Customer Center. Google Maps street view solved that little problem. Thanks Google - nice database you have there.

Night camp

Site 37 - Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad NM

Vision, Novelty and Fear

Animals see more intense contrasts of light and dark because their night vision is so much better than ours. Good night vision involves excellent vision for contrasts and relatively poor color vision.