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Down on the farm

A two-day drive from northern New Mexico brought me to the dirt road where Jan's friends have their farm. Chickens, geese, ducks, a few head of cattle, and the usual dogs and cats made the place feel like an old-fashioned family farm.

Hilly Colorado road

Jan's friends were kind enough to let us park our motorhomes and cars on their property for a couple of weeks while we took care of various errands and chores.


We were concerned about the fires that were sweeping parts of the state in the early summer. Of course, in a situation like this, a full-time RVer is prepared to evacuate with all of his or her possessions at the turn of an ignition key, something a homeowner can't do. But it's not a scenario any of us wants to face. One afternoon I noticed smoke in the distance, and as the wind shifted toward us, the sky became murky.

Fire in the afternoon

That evening, there was a sickly orange glow to the sky. "It looks like Armageddon!", Jan said. We made plans: if the fire came close enough that an evacuation was ordered, Jan and I would take her friends and their pets in our coaches and skedaddle. The cattle and other animals would be set free to escape on their own... we hoped.

Fire at night

Fortunately, the wind changed overnight, and the next day dawned clear. We breathed sighs of relief, and went back to our planned activities.

Jan had recently bought a used Lazy Daze motorhome—the same "midbath" floorplan as mine, though a few years younger—and she and James had been busy making the same kinds of changes I made to Skylark when I bought this rig in 2006: adding solar panels, batteries, a whole-house inverter, and the week before I arrived, replacing one rear couch with a desk (see "Upgrade Frenzy"). I helped her with some smaller upgrades... and then we tackled a project in my coach.

As it happened, there was melamine-coated countertop material left over from making Jan's desk, and my seven-year-old plywood desk was looking a little beat up (though you can't tell in this photo)... so we decided to make me a new desktop from the melamine-coated material.

Old desktop

That turned out to be a bigger job than either of us had anticipated. Cutting and shaping the material wasn't too hard, as we both carry sets of Ryobi cordless power tools including a circular saw, saber saw, and sander. But there's a shelf and a lot of electrical stuff under the desk, and it all had to be removed, rewired and replaced. We were both pretty well worn out by the time we got done (the summer heat didn't help!), but the results were worth it. My new desk looks great!

New desktop
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