Another Soggy Weekend and Moving Past Posts

Wow. I cannot believe this rain.  The dogs and I, along with everyone else, are getting pretty sick of it, but it could be worse.  We could be in Monroe, Louisiana. My prayers and sympathy go out to these people who have lost everything.

The good news is that our lakes are filling up, so that truly is a blessing, but boy, getting there has been rocky!  Dare I say it?  There’s actually some sunshine forecast for next week.  That definitely makes me smile.

Just a little perspective on how much rain we are getting. The photo below, on the left, was taken in September 2015.  The photo on the right (not mine) was taken last week, March 2016 of the same spot at Fowler Falls near McCloud.



Below is the Fowler Falls campground area. The photo on the right was taken last September looking DOWN. The one on the left (also not my photo) is on level ground, taken last week.  I think we can be thankful that the past two weeks have given us all this water in two to three day shots with some breaks in between, and snowpack in the lower mountains hasn’t been all that deep.


Nothing really exciting going on in the way of travel, but good weather and good times are just around the corner.  I have, between a few bouts of “I can’t take this (rain) anymore” been busy with a few things.  I needed a sleeping bag  liner (Oversized, to fit in the oversized sleeping bag. The Chiweenie Brothers do not like to be cold), something to put the dog’s tie out stakes in, and a cover for my Camco heater, so those projects were taken care of last week. Every little step, no matter how tiny  brings us even closer to our Big Adventure. No photo of the heater cover as I am not finished with it yet.

The bag liner. A queen sheet folded in half and sewn along the bottom and half way up the other side. 

Dog stake bag made from leg of an old pair of jeans. Sometimes you just need to pull up stakes and hit the road.  Fast.  No cleaning required. Just stuff and store. *Smile*


Besides these projects, I have been working on moving posts from and editing along the way.  A lot of those old posts don’t fit into our new life’s goal so they will not be brought to this site. I am still in the process of weeding out, so my apologies if something appears here, but then disappears.

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel,  Shawna

“I choose to make the rest of my life, the best of my life.” Louise Hay


We Took a Little Trip

Good morning!  Or evening, or afternoon……  Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs.

The boys and I took a little trip in Freedom; part business, part pleasure, but a whole lot of crazy.

I spent most of the beginning of the week getting ready to roll and since the first order of business was a vet appointment at the clinic down in the valley we headed out late afternoon so we could get settled in before nightfall. I wanted Charlie there the second they opened the next morning so if he did indeed need surgery they could do it that day or the next.  That would save me another trip over the mountain.

We got there a bit early (meaning before dark) so we stopped at McDs to check out the wi-fi connection.  It was there, weak, but there.  And I discovered that the direction you park — whether facing the building or not — makes a difference in signal strength.  You probably knew that, but I didn’t, so it was something learned to apply for the next venture out. After a short stay we moseyed over the vet’s office and parked behind the building.

The vet’s office is right off a very busy street in Redding and between an International House of Pancakes and a Burger King.  Actually there’s another fast food joint in there, but I can’t remember what it is.  This was our first night staying in Freedom in any place other than my son’s driveway.  It was interesting.  We still had some daylight and I walked the boys and cleaned up after them then settled in for the night.  It was a bit muggy from recent rain and I left the windows down, the small vent windows pushed opened and utilized my little O2Cool battery operated fan to try and keep things decent.  Since the sun wasn’t beating down on us, it was fine.  I read for a bit, then we went to bed.  And the Night People came out.  Teenagers, I assume, and transients evidently used this area for partying and sacking out, depending.  At one point someone must have approached the van because Burger the Wire Hair Terror (I mean terrier) began growling.  And whoever or whatever left.  Whew.  Good boy Burgie, good boy!  The Chiweenie Brothers slept well, while Burger and I kept vigil until the wee hours of the morning when a bit of a cloud burst drove the Night People under cover or home or whatever.  We got a wink or two.

About 6:30 a.m. I walked the boys and got Burger and Fries settled in then I took Charlie in for his appointment.  The vet agreed that the screw that seemed to be working its way out of Charlie’s jaw should be taken out, or at the very least he should be opened up and  looked at.  So Charles Barkley was left in the care of the vet and the other two and I had the whole day ahead of us to do as we pleased.

Coffee was definitely in order and we made our way back to McDs and spent a little time there before making the rounds at Home Depot and Walmart.  We then drove to Caldwell Park and settled in under a huge shade tree.  I called my sister who lives just a few miles from there and she came over and we spent the afternoon visiting and catching up on family events.  My brother didn’t answer his phone, but I left a message, however, he and my SIL didn’t show up. We also used the new tie out.  Adjustments need to be made, but it will be nice to be able to let the boys out and know they are safe and secure while I am busy with other things. 

Once it was nearing 5:30 and not having received the phone call I was expecting regarding Charlie, I called the vet’s office and they said he was out of surgery, doing well, and I could pick him up.  Sis and I said our goodbyes and the boys and I loaded up and headed out to get our Charlie Boy.  He was perky and eager to be out of there.  I spoke with the doctor before we left and he explained that all the hardware and five screws were removed, the jawbone graft had filled in and was thick and complete and once the incision healed Charlie would be good as new.  (this little guy is a rescue and a local animal welfare group had found him with a broken jaw.  He had two surgeries trying to get it repaired; fund raisers were done for the cost. Tremendously expensive, but if you knew Charlie you would know why it was done for him).  So after hearing the good news we had exactly 30 minutes to get to my son’s for my grandson’s 16th birthday party in Red Bluff.  We just made it!!!

My grandson Fletcher

My newest grand baby, Patton Lea,   celebrating her brother’s special day in her own imitable style; grabbing every cupcake she could get her hands on!

And that leads to our last night in the valley, in the van……and Burger wouldn’t settle down.  This dog has a sensitive stomach and one of the kids or maybe several of the kids, must have fed him people food that is not good for him.  I was in and out of the van with this dog a good portion of the night.  When we weren’t out, I listened to him moan and groan.  The Chiweenie Brothers had no problem sleeping, the brats.  
Two nights without sufficient sleep is not good for this gal.  But there was still much to be done.  We pulled up stakes and left as soon as the kids left for work, and we headed back to Redding to do our grocery shopping.  A trip to the valley is never complete without stopping for groceries.  Ever.  Food is very expensive in our little town in the mountains and with only one grocery store, they take advantage.  So, first was Costco and then it was Winco.  Then we went back to the park and I got the dogs staked out and tried to nap.  No dice.  I kept worrying that I would miss my afternoon dental appointment so the decision was made to head back up towards home and stay in the parking lot of the dental clinic. 
I had already made up my mind that I would feign vehicle trouble if it was too hot for the dogs, but we lucked out with some good-although-intermittent cloud cover and it was a good chance to try out the Reflectix window covers.  They work so well to deflect the heat!  With the front windows down to the point where no canine can escape, the Reflectix covering all the other windows, Reflectix in the windshield, vent windows open, and my O2Cool fan pulling in fresh air, it was good.  Will be even better once I get some Elastomeric on the van’s roof to block even more heat, but that’s another post.  
After two hours in the dental chair, we headed the rest of the way home, I off loaded the groceries into my Honda and headed to the next little burg to pick up a dog I was to pet sit over Memorial Day weekend, then finally, home!   Home sweet home and the weekend to rest up and recover from our two day mad rush to accomplish so much.  
If you got this far reading this long post, I thank you for hanging in there.  Hugs, Shawna   


Hi there!  Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs.  It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  Spring is upon us in a big way and the The Chiweenie Brothers, Burger, and I are all enjoying it. 

The flowering quince is in full bloom

And the bleeding heart is beautiful this year. 

I have a recipe to share with you today — van dwellers don’t leave — that makes the possibility of roasted vegetables a reality in the hot days ahead when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen.  Have been wanting to try  roasting some vegetables in my crock pot and since I had a sack of brussel sprouts in the fridge, I decided it was a good day to try this.  NOTE:  I am not a huge fan of brussel sprouts, but I have to admit the sauce in this recipe makes those little cabbages uber good, not to mention healthy. Those two words usually don’t go very well together!  Throwing in some carrots made the whole thing even better.  YUMMY!


1 1/2 Pounds brussel sprouts
1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup rice-wine vinegar  (I’ve used plain ol’ wine vinegar and it works just as well)
1/4 Cup honey
2 Tablespoons Siracha  (If you don’t like super spicy, cut this back to 1 tablespoon)
Salt and pepper to taste

Use some of the olive oil to coat the bottom of your crock pot. You don’t need a lot, just enough to keep the vegetable(s) from sticking. Turn your pot to high.

Trim the base away from the brussel sprouts and discard.  Cut the sprouts in half.  Put the sprouts in your crock pot and stir them around to lightly coat with the oil. Place a paper towel over your crock pot and place the lid on top.  The paper towel will absorb the extra moisture.  You may need to change it out once.  Cook for about 1/ 1/2  to 2 hours, maybe more.  It all depends on your crock pot and the size of the sprouts you are making. 

Once your brussel sprouts are tender, mix up the remaining oil with the rest of the ingredients and pour over the sprouts, mixing well.  Cook for another half hour or so.  Dig in!!

I made this with fewer brussel sprouts and added carrots (cut in small chunks).  You could use any assortment of vegetables that you normally roast in your oven and it would be wonderful; any of the root vegetables, sweet potatoes, onions, bell peppers, etc.  Use whatever you want, but I’d try it with the brussel sprouts first.  And I gobbled this up so fast I forgot to get a photo… will have to be content with the flowers.  Sorry! 


As many of you van dwellers know — or maybe you don’t — they make a 12 volt crock pot that you can plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter.  How cool is that?  It even comes with a cord to secure the lid.  One of these is on my wish list!!  So, if you are planning on changing camps, just going for a drive that may last an hour or two,  or travelling to another destination, make this recipe and let it cook while you are on the road.  And just think of all the other things you will be able to cook while you are driving down the road enjoying the scenery.

Next, I want to try roasting these little gems in a solar oven.  But that’s down the road.  Why?  Because I haven’t put one together yet.  It’s on my To-Do List 🙂 

Hugs to you,


For a Tiny Kitchen

More little things for Freedom.  It is so satisfying to get even the smallest thing done for our future “we-are-on-the-road-and-living-the-life” day. 

The small colander, enough to drain a can of vegetables or fruit or enough pasta for one person, [No boys (AKA The Chiweenie Brothers) you do not get any pasta]  caught my eye because it is “my” color and I just had to have it.  The grater–in paddle form– was a no brainer.  I prefer a box grater, but it would take up too much room, so this was a good purchase I think.  The tiny spatula was already in my sticks and brick’s kitchen as was the paring knife. 

I also bought these “blind spot” mirrors and this little pouch to store flash drives and extra  SD cards. 

These items are all over the place in relation to each other, but what I buy is dictated by how much in household goods I have sold, so it depends on what my ‘budget” for the week can handle.  I am putting the biggest chunk of dollars earned by selling items from the S/B (sticks and bricks house) into my solar fund, you know, so we can be off-grid and have a way to run all the electronics, etc. 🙂

That is what has been happening this week for the great escape plan.  Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs.  Have a good one.  Hugs, Shawna

Tape Won’t Work

Well, as life would have it, things need to be re-done because a good idea went south.

I posted a couple of weeks back about several things I had done in Freedom to make life a bit easier, and one of those was a couple of LED lights attached to the ceiling to make it easier to find our way inside after dark.  The whole precept was open the door, step up, push the light tab and voila’ LET THERE BE LIGHT.  It worked very well until the heat from our current day time temperatures (and it’s March, so even though it’s warmer than usual, it is not that hot) made the inside of the van warm enough to render the glue on the sticky tape unfit to hold the lights up. I found them on the floor. 

Experienced van dwellers know what they are talking about; tape is usually not a good choice for adhering items to any surface inside a vehicle.  It just gets too hot inside. 

Sooooooo……..  these terrific little lights will be reinstalled using screws.  Fortunately there are holes already drilled on the back plates so it was an easy fix.  And interesting that the company knew about the tape situation! Perhaps that’s why they caution against using the tape. BWAAAAAA.

I won’t bore you with another picture of said lights, but if you would like to be reminded of which ones I am talking about you can see the former post HERE.

Can’t have a post without a pic, so here’s a shot of the hyacinths that are in glorious bloom.  Ahhhhh, spring.  There’s nothing like it! 

Thank you for stopping by Two Dogs today.  Enjoy your Sunday and have a wonderful week.

Hugs, Shawna


A Nifty Little Idea

even if I do say so myself. 
I wanted some way to be able to hang up a few pictures and notes in the van, but the interior is covered in fabric and I am loathe to stick pins in it.  Yes, that will probably change, but I haven’t gotten to that point yet.  Freedom is still too new (to me) and I just can’t bring myself to stick pins in her.  At this time…

What I came up with as I was lying in bed waiting for the sand man to visit and dreaming about heading out on the “Big Adventure”  was fabric-covered sheet metal attached to the little hidey-hole cupboard doors on either side of the on-board television which, by the way, is analog and useless in this digital age; but I digress.  The idea blossomed into a plan and here’s how it all went down.  It has a good ending.

I called the local lumber/steel/recycling place and asked if they carried sheet metal and if so, could they cut it to size for me….and they could.  And I was happy. 

The cuts were a little rough, but I used a heavy duty nail file to smooth them up a bit. Next step was to drill small holes in the metal so I could attach the sheets to the doors. I decided to use small nails.  Only time will tell if that was a mistake.  If it was I will have to remove the nails and use screws. 

 The next step was to add double-faced carpet tape to the sheet metal, then cut my chosen material to size leaving a hefty border around all sides, remove the backing to expose the top side of the tape and “wrap” like a present.

Before taking my little wonders out to install on the doors, I took a pair of needle nose scissors and poked a hole in the fabric where the holes were drilled into the metal.  They were easy to find by feel.  I probably could have skipped this step because I used nails, but if I ever need to use screws instead, I don’t want the fabric to wrap around the screw and I think that’s exactly what they would do and possibly pull the material out of shape or pull it away from the carpet tape on the back.                                                            

 Here’s the sheet metal, wrapped and nailed to the cupboard door.  All ready for magnets and pictures of that new grand baby!  😉

On the To-Do List will be fixing, covering, doing SOMETHING with that gaping hole left by the TV.
Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs today.  Hugs, Shawna

A Few New Items For Freedom

What do you do in the depths of winter to entertain yourself?  There’s TV, the occasional walk, playing with the dogs, the internet, and FaceBook, reading…  Yes, there’s all that, but most of my spare time has been spent dreaming about the day I get to pack up Freedom for more than just a few days’ stay somewhere.  For that time when the dogs and I pull out of the driveway of our sticks and bricks home that is no longer ours and we head out on the open road to whatever adventures come our way.  The day we make Freedom our permanent home. 

Part of getting ready for that future date is the continuing work on Freedom to make her our comfy-cozy little abode on wheels.  The desk/kitchen table I made is installed, and we have several plastic drawer units in place.  The bed is more comfortable than the one in our house, and I continue working on the little things while saving for getting a few more of the big things (think solar), and some confidence to install it, but that’s another post.

Below is the desk/table installed in Freedom.  In the center is the cooler cube I purchased and the cover I threw together for it.  I definitely need to make another one that is a bit bigger, or more appropriately ‘fuller’, and cover the cube with Reflectix, but for now this works.  It’s not only my ice chest but also the seat for my desk/table.

I have an on-going list of things on my wish list at Amazon and was able to purchase a couple of items earlier this month and got them installed.  It seemed I did not have enough light to my liking, especially something that was handy and something I would be able to turn on when entering the van in the dark.  These LED battery operated stick-on lights from Amazon work perfectly and throw out a good amount of light.  These are on the ceiling, one towards the front right at the side doors and the other is toward the back near the bed.

The other item I purchased was a drink holder.  I loves me some coffee or tea while on the move and Freedom, being an older gal, did not have the kind of cup holders that worked with my to-go cups.  Searching Amazon (I love that store!) I found an adjustable holder that I was able to attach over the top of the console where the integrated holders were.  It works really well and doesn’t look too bad at all. I positioned it so I have a little opening to stash a pen or two and I can put a notepad behind the holder.  Am thinking the holder on the right might be useful for the GPS.  Will try that out during the next short road trip.

Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs today and following along as we get Freedom ready to roll. 
Have a great week!  Hugs, Shawna


Reflectix Window Shades

Good morning!  It’s another beautiful day.  Chilly, but not cold like it usually is this time of year.  Some say lows in the 20s is downright COLD, but it could be worse, oh yes, a lot worse. We have had no single digit overnight temps and no sub zero so yes, it could be worse; has been in past winters and will be again I am sure, but for now I am loving the warmer temps and looking forward to highs in the 50s. 
Today, I want to show you the window covers I made for Freedom that have a dual purpose; covering the windows to reflect the heat of the sun and blacking out the windows for complete privacy at night. This great idea was found on , a community of like-minded people who live in mobile shelter, want to live in mobile shelter, or just curious about the life style.  Lots and lots of wonderful information on that site.

This first photo is of the black fabric applied to the Reflectix with Super 77 spray glue.  It’s pretty simple, just spray the Reflectix with the glue, let it tack up a bit, then apply the black fabric (that you have pre-cut with 1/2 – 1 inch edges) by laying the fabric on the Reflectix (also precut to size for each window) and then smooth out starting from the middle and working from the center to the outside edge.  Let it dry completely and they are ready to use.  Start with the smaller windows……the large windows are kind of tricky, but the glue is a bit forgiving, so just pull it up and smooth it back down if it gives you any trouble or better yet, enlist a helper with the bigger pieces.

 This is the opposite side of the first photo.

 Here is the same shade pressed into the window with the Reflectix to the outside.

 Same window from outside the van.

This is the driver’s side back window with the fabric side of the shade facing out.  Perfect night time  camouflage for stealth camping.  You cannot even tell it’s anything other than Limousine tint unless you are right up to the window.  And the first person who does that is in for a rude surprise 🙂

When I am driving or parked and want a view, the shades are stored under the bed on top of some storage bins.  They are out of the way yet easy to get to when the time comes to use them. 

I bought the 48″ x 25′ Reflectix roll and there was enough for all my windows (didn’t make any for the driver and passenger windows), a windshield sunscreen, cover for my Cube Cooler, and I still have enough I think for making a solar oven. 

Huge thanks to the guy who posted this technique on Cheap RV Living.  I can’t remember who it was, but would love to give him credit for this so if you know, please let me know!

Have a great day!  Hugs, Shawna

Why I Make My Own Cleaning Products

About ten years ago I became sensitive to a lot of chemicals.  It started out while I was driving truck as part of a team and my sensitivity to the smell of diesel got worse over time. Not only the diesel, which gave me horrible headaches, but one particular incident comes to mind as the turning point when I realized that I needed to quit breathing these things. 

We were somewhere in Missouri and I was out for a walk and I still don’t know what it was that triggered a sneezing fit, but it went on and on and my eyes watered, my chest tightened and I have been more sensitive than ever since that time. Some cleaning products I simply cannot be around, period.  Here is a great article by Sophie Gratton on the chemicals found in a lot of our cleaning products.

The best way to be able to fight the battle properly against harmful cleaning products is to be prepared. Knowing the name of the most common and most dangerous chemicals, as well as their potential effects on you and your family is the best plan of attack. Here is the list of the top 5 most harmful chemicals found in cleaning products.

  1. Diethylene glycol: Found in many commercial window and glass cleaners. The main danger is when diethylene glycol is ingested. The effects can be mild to very dangerous and can include gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea)  depression, kidney and renal failure, neurological complications such as lethargy, paralysis, coma and even death.
  2. Phenols: Phenols  are difficult to avoid in cleaning products because it is present in almost all antibacterial cleaners and disinfectant, and is a very common ingredient in detergents and all-purpose cleaners. Depending on how phenol is absorbed (skin contact, inhaled or ingested) the potential effects of phenol on health can be severe eye, nose, throat and skin irritation, headache, shortness of breath, coma, convulsions, organ damage and death.
  3. Formaldehyde:  Formaldehyde is in so many things. When it comes to cleaning products, formaldehyde is found in air and carpet deodorizers, fabric softener and furniture polish.  It is known to cause cancer in humans.  You can make better products or eliminate some (like furniture polish), do your health a favor, AND save a lot of money. 
  4. Butyl cellosolve: Butyl cellosolve is uncommon in major US or Canada cleaning product brands but it can be found in products at discount stores and some inexpensive brand name products. Be aware when purchasing discount cleaning products for your windows, bathroom and tiles, all-purpose cleaners and kitchen disinfectants. Butyl cellosolve is suspected to damage the nervous system, liver, kidneys and even bone marrow.  Better to make your own!!!
  5. Petroleum solvents: Found in furniture polishes and floor cleaners, these solvents are known irritants to mucus membranes in the mouth, nose, ears and eyes. They can also hidden in our food as they are  used to clean machinery that process food.
Not everyone takes the time to read the labels when purchasing cleaning products, and we are even at a disadvantage when it comes to the  manufacturer as they are not required by law to list all the ingredients in cleaning products like they are in cosmetics. I think we become immune to the dangers of the products we buy to keep our homes clean even if we do read those labels.  And I think our health is suffering for it. 
So I began making my own cleaning products as a way to clean my home without suffering for it, and then realized I was saving a lot of money. Now, the more I do and the more items I find that can be made easily and so much cheaper at home, the more I want to do.  I know many of you do not have a lot of extra time and adding “homemade cleaning products” to your to-do list is not very appealing, but I think your and your family’s health will be the better for it.  And the best part is, so much of it is made from some of the same ingredients so this could be perfect for vandwelling. And just think of the things you could do or buy when you are saving all that money!!! 

Save where you can so you can spend where you want.  And your lungs will thank you for ridding your home (or travel vehicle) of all those chemicals.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Hugs, Shawna