It's not what you think, and I'm not leaving. Yet. This is about a game I started playing a few weeks ago called Ingress. My need for diversion has grown equal in size to the worries in my life. The whole reason I bring it up at all is that it's perfect for those living the mobile lifestyle. Now there are a few limitations. First and foremost you can only play it if you have an Android device (smartphone or tablet with GPS and 3/4G access). Secondly, you gotta be outside. A slam dunk for the full timing crowd.

Interested yet? The best way I can describe the game is that it's cross between capture the flag and risk. Without getting into a long drawn out explanation I'll try to synopsize it. There are two possible teams you can play for and you pick one at sign on. The first goal is to capture the flag. The second goal is to link three captured flags together in a triangle to form a territory. The third goal is to hold all three as best you can. Seems simple enough, right? It's not. It's insane. It's also the most fun I've had in a long while. It takes minutes a day to play and won't eat it up (unless you let it). Now here's why this game lends itself to travelers. The flags are called portals in the game, and in reality are ... post offices, historic landmarks, modern outdoor art, statues, historic buildings, religious temples, and even select business establishments like Jamba Juice. 

How do I start? Sign up for an invite www.ingress.com. It took about a week and a half to get mine.

How do I play? The Ingress Boot Camp was a huge help to me, but there are G+ communities all over the world. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this is being played world wide. Anyways there are people willing to help teach you to play and even help you level up. There are currently eight levels.

Is it fun? Hell yes it is! Is it playable everywhere? That depends purely on the coverage area of your mobile phone provider. What if I have an iPhone? Lose it and get an android! This is what you get for thinking different and not affordable. Sorry, I was never a rich man. Rot in hell Steve Jobs.

Updated to add the following ..

I neglected to mention the most important reason I started playing. The weather has been going back and forth between rain or hot sunny days. This makes hiking a sweaty muddy mess for us. I've not gone out in the last two weeks because of this and as a result, haven't exercized much. This game has gotten us out of the house and walking which is good. The heat and humidity are still uncomfortable but we're able to cool off in a building or the truck if it gets to be too much. 


i've got dreams

... to remember - Otis Redding

It was another early Saturday morning for us. I jumped into my grubs, grabbed a bag I packed the night before, and hauled us off to the trailer. It was bath day seeing as how I procrastinated on doing it last weekend. I found a self service car wash that caters to RV'rs by way of having two high ceiling wash bays. The best part was being able to swipe my ATM card to pay for it. I spent roughly 20 minutes from beginning to end with a total cost of $14. A local RV cleaning service quoted me $100 to clean a sixteen foot trailer. No thank you I'll take the $14 elbow grease option instead. Besides the exercise did me some good. I picked up some lunch on the way back to the storage yard, parked, climbed in for a nice lunch, and co-napped with the beagle. 

No new shoes for Bridgette. Turns out they don't have anything that will fit her, for now. The nice girl at Ruffwear I spoke with said that they'll be releasing a shoe that will fit her, but it won't be out until this fall. Her old shoes are still going so I guess we'll see how much more life we can get outta them til then.

Last night my roommate drunkenly tried to convince me to go out on a night on the town with him. Poor guy cited the usual litany of reasons why I should see certain parts of this town while I still reside here. He definitely forgot who I am. I've historically steered clear of major metro areas and am only there unless absolutely necessary. Thankfully he gave up and I had my quiet night of Doctor Who and dinner. 

Over this last week things have become uncomfortable at work for the entire team to the point where they are all openly looking for employment elsewhere. For those not keeping up. Leadership has been making staff policy changes that have left us feeling like we're red headed step kids. In my case I now have a four day a week commute. I don't like it but have gotten used to it again. The main drawback is the limited number of hours I have per day to get things done but I am coping. We believe they're doing this so they don't have to let us go and are all wondering if we'll have the job as we know it for much longer. I guess it's a moot point given my possible need for an early departure. Even though the corporate 9-5 (6-6 in my case) lifestyle has worn thin with me I would still like to end it on a high note regardless of how or when I leave. 

I'm back at the trailer this morning, thinking and planning. In light of either my job ending or my parents needing me, I've decided to let them play chicken with each other. When whichever happens I'll head back to CA and figure out where to go from there. While here I've been making mental arrangements of where (what little I have left) will go for the return trip. This exercise has reawoken a lot of little memories from when I was first learning and planning how I would survive in a full time lifestyle. Nothing worked out the way I expected it to go three years ago, but most of it has definitely been for the better. 

On that note I'm gonna finish my cup of tea and take a nap.


two out of three

It was an early morning for us today. We bolted for the trailer but made a quick stop to pick up some breakfast on the way. We hopped into the rig and settled in for breakfast while I geeked out on the net for a bit. Scottish oatmeal with assorted fresh berries, best meal of the day. Cleaned up, put everything away, and hooked the trailer to the truck and off to the tire shop. I realized it had been over six months since I pulled it out and was excited to show it off to the world regardless of how dirty and dusty it was. Yes, I'm aware of how that read. Deal with it. The drive there was a little sketchy for me because the tires were low on air, old, and I was expecting them to blow out at any given moment. I obviously read one too many internet horror stories about cheap Chinese tires. The fear never came to fruition and we arrived without incident. It was about an hour before my turn came up, but they were finished in a fraction of the time spent waiting. Had it not been for the squeaks and creaks I wouldn't have known I was pulling anything. The drive back was a lot more fun. I was dreading this last part. I had to park into it's space alone. The first and last time I had help from the manager. My space is sandwiched between a fence, a tree, and a storage building. I'm not complaining because it's cheap, only $40 per month before taxes. I nailed it in the first try! I guess I was still riding high on all the good vibes from the drive in. I unhitched, put everything away, and locked up. The Haven has new shoes. Done! At least until tomorrow morning. I really need to wash my rig and will be pulling it out again for a bath. Yup, went there again.

Look pa, no feet!

Maxxis creamy goodness

Parking went off with a hitch

Speaking of shoes, Bridgette's replacements arrived yesterday. I gotta say I'm really dissappointed with the Ruffwear people now. Her new shoes fit, kind of. They were perfect around her paws but were too short so they kept slipping off. The velcro straps had to be tightened to the point of extreme discomfort making them moot. I called customer service about and they informed me that there's nothing they can do about it. The representative offered to check their stock for a pair like her old ones. He took my number and said he'd call me back in a half hour. He didn't. I'm going to follow up with them on Monday about that. Before I do I'm going to email them a slew of pictures of her wearing them on our various trips and hikes over the last eight years and remind them that I've been evangelizing their products over all these years. I'm hoping to garner a more customer service oriented type of response from them. If they don't have an unsold pair of the old models in stock, maybe they'll crank out the Grip Trex in her size. I get that most of you might be thinking she's just a dog and why does she need them. You ever use something that you didn't know you needed until you used it. That's how this is. I can't tell you how many times they've saved her and me a lot of grief. Thorns, the chemical used on sidewalks/roads during snow season, ice, hot pavement, stickers, cactus needles, sticky clay/mud, and or sharp rocks. They're also best when hiking into unknown territory where you don't think twice about the ground because you're wearing shoes. I watched a guy carrying his sixty pound dog back because the poor things paws were bleeding from running over a bunch of stickers on the ground. Anyways I won't take it personal if you don't wish me good luck on this endeavour, but will appreciate it greatly if you do.

I got my new shoes and they fit perfectly. I'm holding off on using them now as a sign of solidarity for the beagle. So yeah, two out of three ain't bad.


into everyone's life, a little rain must fall

Over this last week we got about two and a half days of heavy rainfall to be exact, and I welcomed the break from the warmer weather we've been having. Then there was the other kind of rain falling into my life. The shoes I ordered arrived but we ran into a problem. Mine were fine and I can't wait to break them in after the mud dries up a little. It was Bridgette's shoes that were the problem. The maker had resized them and the smallest size available is not too big for her paws. I called asking and pleading if they would make at least one pair in her size, but they wouldn't budge. They did offer me an alternative by way of a different model line that they do make in her size. Although not quite as cool as the Grip Trex they are still better than her original ones. I had to order them direct from the maker since REI didn't carry them, but I had to shell out for shipping even though they were cheaper. I saved a little so it's not all bad.

I went to return her shoes and wound up picking up some hiking pants instead. They're the REI Sahara hiking pants and were on sale so I still got some cash back on the exchange. I didn't realize just how badly I needed these things until wore them on my hike yesterday. The light weight and quick dry features are a welcome change over the old khaki cargo pants or shorts I usually wear. I realize I may be a bit of a late comer to this but didn't realize the weight would make such a dramatic difference on a hike. The beagle and I knocked out an almost six mile hike in about an hour and a half yesterday because of it.

I also didn't get the trailer tires replaced this weekend as planned. I forgot to write down the tire size last weekend and couldn't have them place the order for them in time for this weekend. I corrected that today so they'll be there ready and waiting this coming Saturday.

In case anyone hasn't noticed. The frequency of my weekend trailer visits has increased recently. There've been lots of reasons for this, but mainly I needed a quiet place to think and work out what's been going on in my life lately. My trailer is finally living up to it's name in being the haven I needed. I've been seriously wondering if now'ish is the right time to pull up stakes. It's a game of chicken with fate at present. Here are some of the game pieces I'm dealing with. The longer I work, the more I save. When my parents reach the point where I have to be there to care for them. How much longer can I stand the work commute. Will my position still exist with all the changes they're making at the company. And a few other odds and ends but that's pretty much it. No decisions or dates have been made or set yet, and the status quo is allowing me to save. I think that's the answer right there. Keep the status quo and keep saving until one of the aforementioned factors decides it for me.

I think now is a good time to take the beagle out on another hike.