Mice and Rats while Truck Camping

I hope this is my last diatribe about these critters, but I did want to share what I have learned.

They have finally left. It is quiet every night. I have cleaned out, again, and found little pieces of foil that they chewed. An ear bud, chewed. The rubber cover on the phone has been chewed through.

Kangaroo Rat | Visit California

Kangaroo rats have long tails and big hind feet with four toes. They have large heads with big eyes and small ears. They are a sandy brown color with a white underbelly.The kangaroo rat is almost perfectly adapted to life in the desert. They can survive without ever drinking any water, getting needed moisture from their seed diet. They have excellent hearing and can even detect the silent sound of an owl approaching. Their large back legs enable them to jump up to 9 feet in one jump in order to escape predators. (Thanks to https://www.desertmuseum.org/)

how to get rid of packrats in your car

Pack rats are nest builders. They use plant material such as twigs, sticks, and other available debris. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying—for example, a piece of cactus—and “trade” it for the new item. They can also be quite vocal and boisterous. Getting into everything from attics to car engines, stealing their ‘treasures’, damaging electrical wiring, and creating general noisy havoc can easily cause them to become a nuisance. Offspring are born naked and helpless and must be cared for in nests called middens. Some female pack rats have been known to deliver up to five litters per year with each litter having as many as five young. (thanks to https://citypests.com/how-to-get-rid-of-pack-rats/)

The consensus on all of the websites was to:

#1 get great rat traps.

Got these. They really work. Took me a while to figure them out. I wrecked two before I realized that I needed to be more careful at springing the traps when I pick them up in the morning. I was stomping on them and breaking a small notch that held them open. Also took me a long while to figure out how to bait them without losing a finger nail or two.

#2 get lights.

Both kangaroo rats and pack rats like to hunt at night. These solar beauties throw lots of light under the engine. They are so bright I worry that I am bothering camping neighbors. I gave away two of these to a nearby first time camper who was having rat problems. Two were enough for me, placed under the engine every night.

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Truck Camping Love

The first cup of coffee. Chilly morning in the desert.

AeroPress is how I do the morning ritual. Easy to use. Easy to clean.

Garbage is another every day activity. Gotta put it up, away from mice, until I need to carry it to the trash area.

It used to look like this:

Now it looks like this:

So sweet. Many thanks to the Bureau of Land Management for this upgrade. This is the address if you want to say thanks.

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Helpful link for truck campers

Weather is the main threat for me. Snow, heavy winds, thunderstorms, tornados, etc.

I am usually brave, but mother nature can scare me. Figuring out how to get from one spot to the next is easy if you have a map. Weather? Well, I have come to depend on a Facebook group called severe weather for nomads. This group of people did a fantastic job when it came to the west coast fires. Their tornado warnings were very helpful. They keep a close eye on any kind of severe weather fronts. Really keep many people safe. I watch for heavy snows and thunderstorms.

Many kudos to this group for keeping all of us safe. Thank you.

I also have a Pilot app for showers and gasoline locations. I don’t spend much money on showers (maybe 1/month), but it is a nice treat and worth every penny of the $12 for a luxurious shower with clean towels and oodles of hot water. Best to get to a location very early in the morning. That cuts down on your wait time.

I use Amazon Prime. The delivery speed is what I use it for. It helps when you are traveling. I haven’t used the Amazon Prime for movies, but there are a bunch of them that are included in the price of Prime. I am trying to get used to a Kindle, so the free books on Amazon Prime help.

Banking is done through an app from Wells Fargo. I can deposit checks, move money and check on card activity wherever I have cell service. I think that most banks have this ability nowadays. So worth it.

How about you? What apps do you have that make your traveling safer, easier or more entertaining?

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Losing Rat Battle

This is a huge rat. We had a staring match, which I lost, when she jumped up on the table while I was having my first cup of coffee. I jumped up, she jumped off and ran away. I set out traps, baited with corn, and found this the next morning. These rat traps are wickedly good, if the animal enters. Quick death.

The pack rats, however, are scrabbling throughout the truck bed at night. Peppermint doesn’t work, traps don’t catch them, dryer sheets don’t work, a lantern lit all night didn’t work. I have put up everything that they might be attracted to. They just eat something else. Anything to shorten their teeth. They have chewed the phone case, my glasses and even ate two sets of ear buds. They even chewed parts of 2 rat traps and didn’t set them off. Just chewed them enough so they can no longer be used.

The morning walks are so satisfying. I love the light in the desert. I am loving this wandering around so much. I have scoped out some more gold prospecting areas nearby. So far I have a fine collection of beer cans, barbed wire and pieces of metal. It does not discourage me since there are miles and miles of places to keep looking.

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Piecemeal Solar

When the Goal Zero pooped out I bought the above tiny battery/ solar thingie. It was slower than I was hoping for. Could only charge 1 item a day. The batteries and the Kindle and the lights were lined up to be charged.

So I set up the left over panels from the Goal Zero package. That helped by adding one more charge spot. These are very slow, also. The poor panels have been in hail storms and dust storms. But, they still work. Kinda.

The phone’s battery is getting weak, so it has an extra battery attached most of the time. Getting all of these items charged is hard. Thanks to a friend I just unwrapped and set up the Jackery 100 watt solar panel.

Jackery solar panels

Very fast. Only one USB port. But fast. And On sunny days all of the solar panels are out and charging! By tonight I will have 2 full batteries , fully charged phone, fully charged light and a full Kindle.


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