All posts by Dan Cordray

Retired firefighter/EMT and Factory Automation Technician. Now living full-time in a van with my beautiful wife and our two dogs. Since I must live somewhere, I choose to live everywhere.

Thanksgiving came early

     Thanksgiving came early around the Cordray camp.  We camped about 28 miles east of Durango, CO in the San Juan Nat’l Forest on the bank of the Piedra River.  If the beauty of this place, the sound of the river rapids, and the songs of many different birds wasn’t enough, it got better.09051907392

     We had a hunter camped near us that was there bear hunting.  As he was leaving, he stopped and gave us a turkey he had shot.  He said that his wife didn’t care too much for wild game.  I told him thank-you and we will definitely enjoy that fine blessing.

     I set about gathering firewood before I plucked and cleaned this bird.  I need to say right here that I went in the brush a good bit away from our camp to complete this task.  09031919022You see those little bear cub tracks were in the mud about 60 yards upstream from our camp.

      Remember the campfire pot jack I bought from Blacksmith Curtis Green?

Check outhis Facebook page:

Made in Chama, Not China

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Now was a chance to try it out.  My tripod that normally hangs my grill wouldn’t work with the raised rock fire ring in this camp.

     It worked really well to wire my grill to the stand, so let’s get started!0904191303~2

     The breast and the thigh/drumstick were rubbed with a rub Brenda had whipped up.  Here it is, Fiesta brand chicken seasoning, thyme, rosemary, fresh ground pepper, onion powder, and mixed in olive oil.0904191320~3.jpg

     I’m not going to be able to say much about how this smelled while it was cooking, but I’ll show you the pictures.

    We grilled the drumsticks completely and put the breasts in foil with butter and seasoning to let them finish.  0904191346a~2Throw on some broccoli to grill and we were set.

     Yes, Thanksgiving came early.  So, the only thing left for us to do was give thanks and eat.

Get Out, Be Safe and

Go Adventure.

Our Time at Cochiti Lake

    For the past week we have stayed at an Army Corps of Engineers Campground called Cochiti Recreational Area. We use the Army Corps of Engineers web page, and they have a CD, that contains all the campsites they operate as a resource for places to stay. Almost without exception these campgrounds are well-maintained, clean, and with the National Forest Service access pass they are half price. That means we spent the last seven days staying somewhere that had beautiful views, hot showers, and a staff that was more than courteous for $6 a night, or $42 a week. Now I ask you where can you live for $42 a week, that includes water (hot water) I might add? My old mortgage of $1200/mo. equals a weekly rate of $279/week just for the shelter, all the utilities were extra!

Originally, we had thought we would stay, oh I don’t know, three maybe four days. But we, kept extending our stay night by night. The campsite was just that that good! Did I mention the views?

Let’s talk about being self-contained so that you can boondock, and the benefits that brings you. The camping loop we were in had 15 campsites, and for the 7 days we were there we only had about three neighbors that were spread out across those 15 sites. However, the other loops where there were electric hookups and water were a different story. Those loops they were packed in and nearly every site taken so the neighbors were right in each other’s elbows. Being self-contained and able to truly “boondock” allowed us some space and privacy.

This area is rich with history and it takes only a few minutes to reach many historic places. Historic Route 66 is only minutes away from this camp. If the city lights still attract you then Albuquerque is less than an hour away. This is truly a great place to stay and see all the surrounding New Mexico sights. Did I mention Tent Rock, it’s on the way into this campground?

There’s an observation post at the top of one of the hills overlooking the lake providing a wonderful view. You can drive up to the walkway or, if your adventurous there’s a trail that leads up from the other side. Riding the bike down from there on the roadway is an exciting ride.

This has been a quick post just let everyone know where we’ve been the last week. We will be posting more from this beautiful location. We’re visiting with some friends so our time on line is going to be limited for the next few days. Until then…

Get out,

Be safe,

Go adventure.

Maggie’s Rug Bus

Howdy, friends!

During our travels in the northeastern part of the country this summer, we had the chance to spend a nice, leisurely chunk of quality time with our friends Maggie and John, and John’s nephew Jim, at their sprawling farm in Accident, Maryland.

We gathered and dried herbs, shared tasty homemade meals, had morning coffee together every morning, and really enjoyed sharing our creative projects and ideas.

We parked directly in front of Maggie’s rug bus, and were so inspired that we had to hear the story of how it came about from Maggie herself.

Scroll down to read the story, in Maggie’s own words, and check out the link to our video on YouTube of the inside of the bus.

Maggie’s Rug Bus

So here’s the story of how I got my loom. About 40 years ago I had a good friend Diane. We were both creative and we inspired each other. I had always wanted a loom. I bought one once but I don’t think I had all the pieces and it just sat in a pile waiting for me to figure it out. Then one day we were at an estate auction. There, sitting outside of the old farmhouse was a beautiful old Union floor loom. I made up my mind I was going to bid on it. Once the bidding started I realized that only one person was bidding against me! I looked through the crowd and realized that the other person was my old friend Diane, who I had not seen in at least 10 years. I stopped bidding and she got the loom! Afterwards we got together and we were so excited to see each other and got caught up on old news. Fast forward about another 10 years, I saw Diane at a store and she told me she had been trying to get in touch with me because she wanted me to have the loom. She said since I didn’t bid against her that day at the auction, it was my turn to have it!

I was so excited and picked it up that very day. I have been using it to make rag rugs ever since and think of my friend Diane every time I make a rug! I really enjoy making rag rugs because it uses no electricity and I get to upcycle old clothes that people don’t want anymore. The combinations of colors and textures that can be made into a rug are always exciting!

My loom is about 50 inches square and about 40 in inches tall. It takes up a lot of space, and adding to it all the clothes and all the strips of fabric, I had really taken over the living room.

I told my husband that I wanted to move my rug making operation into a shed of my own! We had been discussing building a shed when he came home one day and said he had the perfect solution! He had bought me a school bus! (He is a school bus driver!) He took out most of the seats and moved my loom in! At one auction we bought several bins to keep my materials in, at another, we bought a beautiful cutting table. A rocking chair came from another auction!

With so many windows, I have beautiful light, and the 2 top hatches open for ventilation! Little by little we have transformed my rug bus into a comfortable, creative and productive work area!

Maggie’s coat of many colors.

Because the bus is mobile, I had plans of driving around to art festivals to display and sell my rugs, but I actually get all the sales that I need with people stopping by the bus to purchase them. I still can drive it to different areas of our farm if I need a change of scenery!

I love making rugs but don’t ever want it to become a chore, so I keep my production at a level I enjoy but that still keeps me in business!

Here’s a link to the video we made during a tour of The Rug Bus. Maggie’s Rug Bus

Thank you to Maggie, John, and Jim for one of our favorite visits this past summer!

Mabry’s Mill

When you follow us it is un-tellin’ (my word) what you might see.

Brenda and I have a wide variety of interests, and some are shared. One of these is our love for living history and the nature of our past.

The first thing I saw walking into this area brought a flashback from my childhood. A cane mill stood at the entrance, along with the “boiling pan.”

This was a flashback from childhood days when my grandfather grew sugar cane and there were community “grindings”. One family in the community near Madison, Fla. had a mill and boiling pot. That mill went into production when the cane came to maturity. Families would harvest their cane and bring it for an all-day affair around the mill. The kids were never allowed to be near the mashing wheels and gears. Instead, our job was to keep the mule walking the circle ascribed by the end of the drive pole.

We both have mills in our family history, so we tour mills quite often in our travels.

This particular mill built by Ed Mabry was unique to me. It is divided into sections within the same building. The left side of the mill was a lumber mill Ed used to cut lumber for himself and his neighbors, while the right side was a workshop. In the center was the grist mill. All were powered by the over-shot water wheel outside.

You can see the “race” pouring water on top of the “wheel” through the artist’s drawing here. The wheel supplied energy to turn the other pulleys inside the mill-house.

To accomplish all this work, Mr. Mabry had to build two “flumes” from different creeks. It took that much water to turn the wheel.

Here’s a view of the lumber mill and the workshop.

The grist portion of the mill had two sets of stones. One was for grinding course meal, and the other was for finer household flour. These stones, unlike some mills, came from a local source. A Congiomerae in Blackburg, VA produced and shaped these from the quarry there.

The customer would stand on the milling platform and pour their grain into the center opening of the top stone. Mr. Mabry would be standing below making adjustments to the space between the stones to control the texture of the finished product. They could grind flour, meal, and grits as finished products.

While his mill was the center of activity, Ed was also an accomplished blacksmith.

In his shop, he produced many household items and wagon wheels as well.

There were other “industries” during this time that served the community.

Spinning and producing thread from wool and plant fibers allowed the loom to create rugs and cloth for garments and other useful items.

Baskets for gathering and storing were also handmade during this time.

Now there were times when one would relax or challenge another in a friendly checkers match.

Never mind the outcome…

It’s the game I would’ve loved to watch!

I want to share a picture of my sidekick during some of this.

While maybe not the prettiest face in the crowd, it was very interested in what I was doing.

You can always find more pictures of our travels on our Instagram feeds. Check out @twentyonefeathers and @fireman428 by clicking on our Instagram names here.

REMEMBER…

Be safe, Get out, and Go adventure.

What we do….

I can only imagine what our followers are thinking sometimes. Are they a travel blog, a commentary, a survival/bushcraft/prepper leader, lovers of all things nature, life travelers…?

Well, yes! Yes we are.

Brenda and I have many different interests, and yet common themes run throughout.

She insists that you “Dooooooo It!” while I insist you “Get out, Be Safe, and Go Adventure!”. Is it any wonder that our life streams seem to always flow in the same direction?

The real beauty of our travels, and so our lives, doesn’t live in the pictures we post. It lives in the ability to be free and spontaneous every day. People ask “what are your plans from here?”, and I honestly answer “I dunno”.

You see, part of true freedom rests and flourishes in our mindset of flexibility. See an interesting sign, or thing? Go check it out! It’s only a side trip that may lead to a great discovery.

That’s how we lead our lives. Always mindful of there is no coincidences in our universe. We find, sometimes after the fact, we have been led to a particular place or person for a reason. It’s merely our time to be a conduit to serve others, and our chance to learn from the experience as well.

So, now you understand a little more of the what we do, why we do, and maybe the seeming randomness of how we do.

The pictures here are such a small sample of our lives you should visit and follow our adventures on Instagram. We are known as Fireman428 and Twentyonefeathers.

So, as always…

Get out, Be Safe, and Go Adventure!