Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 9

Crack in the Mountain Trail
Tuesday, December 31, 2013, Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 9 - 0 miles, 4,860.4 For the Trip

No hikes today. I spent most of it relaxing around the campground. I never even picked up the camera since I didn't see much to shoot, so I used another photo form yesterday's hike through the slot canyon.

I did get to meet a couple of new neighbors - the sites on either side emptied in the morning, and filled in the afternoon. While there are 8 empty sites in the campground as of 6:00PM, 4 of them are next to a huge (and somewhat loud) party site that has a couple of trailers getting together to celebrate the New Year. They are far enough away from my site that I can't hear them, but unless I was part of the party, I wouldn't want to be camped next to them!

Dinner was the rest of the left over stew. as usual, it was better as left overs than the day I made it. Both stew & soup always seem to be that way.

Until tomorrow -

Monday, December 30, 2013

Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 8 & Crack in the Mountain Hike

The "Slide" in the Crack in the Mountain Hike
Monday, December 30, 2013, Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 8 - 0 miles, 4,860.4 For the Trip

After breakfast I decided it was time for a hike. I picked up a list of local hikes from the tourist center in Lake Havasu City, and while many required a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle to get to the start (the RAV4 may be 4 wheel drive, but high clearance it isn't) one of the hikes listed started from a paved parking lot. It included a slot canyon, so I went for it. The hike is called "Crack in the Mountain Trail", and continues on to the shores of Lake Havasu & Balanced Rock Cove.

Not a difficult hike, although at 5 miles round trip, a bit longer than I've taken lately. I took the Yellow Trail through the slot canyon & to Balanced Rock Cove, and the Blue Trail back to the parking lot. The Yellow Trail follows a sand & gravel wash until it reaches the "Crack". Not the most difficult slot canyon I've crawled through, although there is a slide down a 7' dry waterfall that is interesting. While someone left a rope, I'm glad I didn't have to haul myself back up it. Because the top of the canyon is open to the direct sunlight, it isn't as colorful as those at the Antelope Canyons in Page, AZ.

The balanced rocks at the end are interesting, but not as impressive as those that have a narrow bottom such as Mexican Hat & Arches. The Blue Trail followed hard packed sand paths along ridges that overlooked much of the Yellow Trail.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After the hike I stopped at the Lake Havasu City Safeway for some chicken thighs to freeze, and a few other supplies. Dinner was a Black Angus Burger & the rest of the left over rice from yesterday.

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 7

London Bridge
Sunday, December 29, 2013, Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 7 - 0 miles, 4,860.4 For the Trip

After breakfast and a long read of the Sunday Syracuse Post Standard, I spent some time catching up on some of my favorite blogs, then started dinner. Yes, dinner. I made a Crock Pot stew, and started out browning the meat at 12:00. It wasn't bad - I'm still getting used to how long it takes to make something in the crock pot. I usually overestimate the time. The stew was done at 4:30, so an early dinner.

That was pretty much the day. My neighbors had to move out since the site is reserved by someone else tonight. They didn't go too far, just to the other end of the campground. I'm not sure why, but the campground is almost full. During my evening walk I counted 5 empty sites. Unusual for a Sunday night, but the rangers did say that the park generally fills up after Christmas.

No pictures today so I used one from yesterday.

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 6 & The London Bridge

Feeding the Pigeons
Saturday, December 28, 2013, Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 6 - 0 miles, 4,860.4 For the Trip

Another slow day at Cattail Cove State Park. For those of you that have followed some of my past travel blogs, this one may be a little slow & boring. I guess it can't be helped, since in the past I spent my time traveling from interesting place to interesting place with little time in between. This trip has a different agenda - staying warm. I still look for interesting things to do, but staying in one place for two weeks, with the main objective avoiding freezing weather is going to be different.

Anyhow today was cloudy, and with the sun hidden behind clouds, cool. I decided it would be better to go somewhere rather than sit and be cold, so I drove to Lake Havasu, and stopped in JC Pennys for a warm shirt. A bit annoying - they had lots of flannel shirts and winter coats on sale, both of which I was looking for, but they were all large sizes, and I mean large. I can sometimes fit into an Extra Large, but these were 4X, 5X & 6X!

On the way back to the campground I stopped at the London Bridge. For those that don't know the story, a couple of guys bought the London Bridge, packed it up and put it back together here on Lake Havasu. It is definitely a tourist attraction, with booths around it selling just about everything. Still, something different. When they built it, they added a man made section of the lake to go under it & created an island at its termination. I shot a few photos of the bridge, the area, and a young lady feeding the pigeons. I also took a nighttime photo of the Smoketree next to the campsite up from mine. There is a streetlight in the middle of the branches that produces a beautiful effect at night.

The sun peaked out when I got back to the campground so I sat out & read for a bit then talked with a fellow camper from Idaho. While we were talking Mr & Mrs Mallard came by; this time it was Mr that walked right up to us looking for a handout. No photo...  The rest of today's photos are at today's LakeshoreImage page.

Dinner was the last marinated chicken thigh from the freezer, along with rice. I hope I can find some more of the thighs - they are excellent on the grill!

Until tomorrow -

Friday, December 27, 2013

Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 5

I want to Be a Star!
Friday, December 27, 2013, Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 5- 0 miles, 4,860.4 For the Trip

Another quiet day at Cattail Cove. I sat around reading, and wandered around the park a couple of times taking photos of the trees & cactus. Because they are well labeled & I can never remember which kinds are which, I'm starting a page with photos & IDs of as many as I can, at least what they have here in the park. I'll post a one here, but many more of them are at their own page.

On the way back from photographing the trees, a flock of ducks posed for pictures. One of them (I believe it is a female mallard) really wanted to get on the web page. She not only didn't run away, she walked right up to the camera! I tried for a couple of sunset photos, and while there was some color, nothing special.  Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I finished off the meatloaf as sandwiches for lunch, and had a salad for dinner.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 4

Wading in Lake Havasu
Thursday, December 26, 2013, Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 4 - 0 miles, 4,860.4 For the Trip

After a piece of apple pie & cheese for breakfast (The advantage of being an adult & single - what I eat is up to me!) I headed into Lake Havasu to get a haircut. The first place I tried was closed, so I ended up at Great Clips at the Ross Shopping Center. While I'm generally not a fan of chain hair cutting places, this one was OK. Definitely better than the last two haircuts I had on the trip. After that it was a quick trip to Walmart & back to the trailer.

I walked around the campground to take a few photos. There is a small section for tents, many back in & pull through sites, all with water & electric, no sewers. The Sandpoint Campground is on a hill overlooking Cattail Cove & the lake.

One of the display boards had information on the Desert Bar, so I added a couple of photos of it here and at the Desert Bar page I did while at Buckskin Mountain. They also had lots of signs on the trees & cactus all over the campground. There was a Mesquite next to a Desert Ironwood with the branches intermingled. While the trunks are quite different, I had problems telling the difference between the leaves - with the examples next to each other, it is a little easier. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a grilled pork chop (actually two, they were thin) and yellow squash with the last of the apple pie for dessert. I wouldn't call it my best apple pie - the McIntosh apples were not as fresh as those from my tree, but it was editable.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Lake Ontario Winter Storm

Wednesday, December 25, 2013, Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 3 - 0 miles, 4,860.4 For the Trip

Merry Christmas! We had a Christmas Pot Luck dinner at 1:00 this afternoon. The food was great, as usual for pot lucks. Lots of interesting things to eat, and, also as usual, I ate far too much. The problem is you just have to try everything. I was only able to get rid of 1/2 my apple pie - there was another one as well as a very good apple crisp, so I still have lots of left overs.

After the pot luck I Skyped & called a bunch of people to wish them a happy Christmas, and gloat over the 73°F sunny weather. While having a white Christmas has always been a plus back east, I don't miss it at all.

No photos today, so I thought it would be good to post a reminder of why I'm here, and not in Oswego.

With the huge early dinner, my evening meal was a piece of pie.

Until tomorrow -

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 2

Apple Pie
Tuesday, December 24, 2013, Cattail Cove State Park, AZ, Day 2 - 0 miles, 4,860.4 For the Trip

After breakfast I checked with the campground gate on how one registered for tomorrow's pot luck dinner. They had a sign up list & I signed up to make an Apple Pie. I usually do blueberry, but it takes about 40 - 50 ounces of blueberries to make a pie, and at $4.99 for a 6 ounce box that makes for an expensive pie. I'll save blueberries for the summer when they are in season. I usually decorate the pie with trees with apples, but since it's a RV pot luck, I made as many different types of RVs as I could thing of.

Before stopping at Bashas', an Arizona based grocery store for the apples and other supplies, I did laundry. Both are about 12 miles away in Lake Havasu City.  I spent much of the time waiting for laundry talking shop with an ex newspaper photographer that currently takes photos for the local theatre.

After getting back to the campground I made & baked the pie, took a shower, and made dinner. I do have an experiment for someone to do regarding showers. Is it more cost effective to use one of the fine spray water saver shower heads when the fine spray cools the water down so much you turn up the hot water higher, or would it be just as well to use a normal shower head that has a strong stream that stays warm? Anyone up for a weird thesis? I definitely prefer the thicker stream of water over the needle spray.

Dinner was a frozen orange Chicken with rice dinner form Marie Callender's. While I usually only eat her pot pies, they didn't have the variety I liked, so I decided to try this. I'd have to rate it as OK for a frozen dinner.

Until tomorrow -

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cattail Cove State Park, AZ

Site 25, Cattail Cove State Park, AZ
Monday, December 23, 2013, Cattail Cove State Park, AZ - 37.7 miles, 4,860.4 For the Trip

Moving day! It has been so long I'm not sure I remembered how to hook up the trailer. Seriously, 2 weeks is the longest I've stayed in any campground, and I'm going to do it again at Cattail Cove. While it is only 15 miles from Buckskin Mountain, I towed the trailer to the La Paz Hospital in Parker. I had an Echo cardiogram scheduled at 1:30, too late to leave the trailer in Buckskin, and too early to pull into my site at Cattail. It also made it easier to buy frozen food since the freezer was with me. According to the woman who did my Echo cardiogram, I had the best heart she has seen all week. Of course since she probably only does them on people that have heart problems, I'm not sure that means all that much. Still, much better than listening to lots of "Oh, my Goodness" while she was working!

I stopped on the way out of town at the Safeway, picked up some supplies & a hot meatloaf that I had as a late lunch or early dinner. I wish they had individual chicken pieces, since I can't eat a whole roasted chicken and that is all they usually have available. The meatloaf was very good, although far too much for a single meal. I'll probably make a sandwich later.

Cattail Cove is a little more cramped than Buckskin Mountain, at least the site I'm in here compared to Site # 2 at Buckskin. Still, a nice park, and like all Arizona parks, well kept up. They have a pot luck Christmas dinner on the 25th - I'll have to see if I can find some blueberries to make a pie since that & sweet & sour meatballs are about all I make for pot lucks.

I got a real surprise when I registered. The volunteer at the office told me my mail was here. Now, since I didn't have any mail sent to me I was pretty sure it wasn't mine, but it was. I had a Christmas card from my son in law's parents, Bert & Pam, and a pound of Blue Horse 100% Kona Coffee that appears to be drop shipped without any ID as to who sent it. Who ever it was, they know that Kona is my favorite coffee. Thanks!

Another surprise is the tree growing in the next campsite is a lemon tree & it is full of lemons. According to my neighbors, they are not quite ripe, but available for the picking.
A couple more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I was a bit concerned that my coverage map showed a better Verizon 4G signal at Buckskin Mountain than here at Cattail, but if anything it is stronger & faster here. AT&T is about the same - almost no data & 2 bars of voice.

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 14

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Sunday, December 22, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 14 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

A beautiful day for the last one at Buckskin Mountain State Park. Tomorrow I move 15 miles north to Cattail Cove State Park. It was another cool night - down to 41°F overnight, however it made up for it by hitting 65°F today.

I spent a long time reading the Sunday Syracuse Post Standard on my iPad, then took a walk around the campground. There is a Scamp 13 a few sites away from mine. I met the owners when they stopped by to look at the Escape. They are looking for something bigger, and were impressed by the Escape 17. Kathleen is an artist working in paint, pottery & printmaking, with a web page at kathleenwieststudios.com.  She gave me a nice card with a painting of the Superstition Mountains.

I finally managed to make a Skype connection with my daughter & grandkids in Botswana. They are 9 hours ahead of me, so finding a time we are both up & on the computers is difficult. They are doing fine, and did get the birthday & Christmas cards I mailed from Douglas, AZ in mid November. My older granddaughter Valerie has a great sense of humor - I sent her a talking Christmas card that had a Gingerbread man on a baking sheet yelling "It's Hot, It's Hot!". Wasn't sure, but at 6 years old she loved it.

I tried for more bird photos this afternoon. I got some, including a covey of Quail (why are Pigeons flocks, Crows murders, and Quail coveys?) I also got a few of the Coots hanging out in the river. I was hoping for a shot of one of the Gila Woodpeckers that have been hanging out at the hummingbird feeder. They don't quite fit, but manage to stop by for a drink. No luck - they take off as soon as the camera moves. I got all of them mad at me - I took down the feeder to clean & pack it for leaving tomorrow. The hummingbirds kept coming back to the post looking for it.

More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a frozen single serving pizza.

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 13

Saturday, December 21, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 13 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

Last night a neighbor reminded me that there was a Christmas service at the campground Ramada at 7:00. I decided to see what it was like and I have to admit I had a good time. Quite a bit different than any Christmas service I've ever attended. One of the park rangers invited a couple of churches, the Grace Assembly on Thursday which I didn't attend and last night the Lilly of the Valley church, a local mostly black congregation that brought a number of members, a children's choir, and an electric piano. Most of the service was devoted to singing Christmas Carols, and to get in the mood, the pastor grabbed members of the audience to lead each one. A bit of a shock at first, but in the end a great way to build togetherness. A bit of a cool service with the wind blowing off the river, but I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

I had another day of doing little - I've exhausted the local hikes, and other things to see in the area so I relaxed. I did try to take a couple of photos of something new at the hummingbird feeder, a pair of Gila Woodpeckers. They are a little big for the feeder, but manage to perch & drink. The problem is they are not as trusting as the hummingbirds - the instant I get ready to take a photo they are gone.

Dinner will be a hot dog & a salad.

Until tomorrow -

Friday, December 20, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 12

Visiting Quail

Friday, December 20, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 12 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

Another quiet day. On my walk I discovered the gift shop was open. While I was tempted by a "T" shirt, the real find was a book exchange. I had about 10 read books piled in the back seat of the RAV4 waiting to be traded - now I have 6-7 unread books, some favorite authors, and some new. I keep a database of read books on my phone since I can never remember which I've read, but since there are 1384 books in the list compiled over the last 6 years, I have an excuse for not remembering all of them.

Other than that it was mostly reading on the compute & my current book - Clive Cussler's Arctic Drift, a gift from one of the nurses at the hospital. She saw me reading a Cussler novel and she doesn't read him, but had the book as a gift. As I mentioned in Wednesday's post, great staff at the Parker Hospital.

No photos today so I'll use one from a previous page. Actually, it could have been today - a group, well, flock of quail visit us at least once a day.

Dinner is in the oven & will be done in about 1/2 hour - a pot pie.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 11

States & Provinces Traveled
Thursday, December 19, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 11 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

A pretty boring day, particularly compared to yesterday, not that I mind! I took a walk around the campground, spent some time on the computer reading blogs & other websites, read a little, and put together a home made pizza for dinner. I used 1/2 of the 1 lb pre made dough, but for the size pan I use (a little under 12") the correct amount seems to be 3/4 of a pound - the dough was a bit thin & the pizza fell apart trying to get it out of the pan. Still tasted great!

No photos today, so I made a visited states & provinces map. I've been to all these with the trailer, however while I camped in most, a few I just drove through.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 10

Wednesday, December 18, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 10 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

I seem to remember a post not too far back where I said I don't want any more exciting days. Well, I guess I should have been more specific - I had a real exciting night. Around 9:00 I settled down to do some reading and all of a sudden my heart rate went from its normal 55-65 beats per minute to around 150. I waited a couple of minutes for it to go back to normal, it didn't, so I called 911. A fire truck, ambulance & sheriff all showed up & off I went to the Parker Hospital. Diagnosis - Atrial Fibrillation. Something completely new - I've never had any heart problems. It took about 2 hours in the emergency room to get me back to normal, and an overnight stay at the hospital to make sure it stayed that way. So far, so good - I've got some follow up appointments while I'm in the area & will have a better idea of treatments, etc after them, but for now everything is back to normal. None of the doctors felt I should immediately give up my trip & head back to Oswego - as long as it is under control, many people live with the problem. During the next couple of weeks doing the follow up stuff I'll get a better idea about continuing.

Getting back to the campground was also interesting - there is no taxi service in Parker, which is about 14 miles from the hospital. The hospital tried a number of things, and in the end a wonderful nurse gave me a ride back to the trailer. Wouldn't even take any money for gas - it may be a small hospital, but the staff was great!

Other than that, I was also upset that I was not able to connect via Skype with my granddaughter Valerie on her 6th birthday.

Until tomorrow -

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 9

Moon Rise
Tuesday, December 17, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 9 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

I had two breakfasts today, one at 8:30 that consisted of coffee & a banana (I know, not quite traditional) and another around 1:00 that was - bacon & eggs. Dinner was a snack of cheese & crackers.

One of the rangers brought in a powered drain snake to try & fix the bathroom problem - he found the location of the blockage, but couldn't clear it. So, still no toilets at this end of the campground.

Since tonight is the full moon, I decided to try to catch it coming over the mountains on the California side of the Colorado River. Not a lot of success - lots of clouds which do make an interesting moon rise, but no good clear shot of the full moon. It isn't all that necessary since I have lots of full moon shots, and there are thousands taken with telescopes that put anything I can do to shame. I also shot a photo of the RVs & Christmas lights on the other side of the river.  The rest of the photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I did discover an interesting problem - Since the phone thinks it is in California since it is connected to their cell towers & the time is set to automatic, but The Photographer's Ephemeris software that tells me when the moon is going to rise seems to be tied to the GPS in the phone, there was an hour difference between them. I went by the photo software & it was correct. It gives rise & set times for both the sun & moon, as well as projecting the rise & set location on a local map. Useful software if you like lining up shots before the sun or moon comes up.

Until tomorrow -

Monday, December 16, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 8

Parker Dam
Monday, December 16, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 8 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

Another slow morning. After breakfast I headed up US 95 to Parker Dam. Not the most impressive dam I've seen, but it does make Lake Havasu & provides quite a bit of electricity for the area. They have a guard posted in the middle of the dam. Other security measures include barriers on each side limiting the size of the vehicles that can cross the dam, no pedestrians on the dam itself, and closing the road at night.  A couple more dam pictures at today's LakeshoreImages post.

After visiting the dam I headed south to Quartzite. Yes, it doesn't make any sense since it is a 48 mile trip & I'm not actually going there to camp until early February, but when ever possible, I like to check out where I'm going before I haul the trailer. Actually, it was probably a good idea. It took me a bit to find the Dome Rock area, in fact, although I found it, it is so large that the Fiberglass rally could be anywhere. I did talk with the host and cleared up some of the free 14 day stay into & the Long Term camping areas & costs. I'm still a little confused - one host says the $140.00 full season price only covers the Quartzite area while another says it is good for camping in all of Arizona, and California. Since I don't plan to purchase the long term camping ticket it really doesn't matter.

I stopped at the Parker Safeway hoping they would have some of the good meatballs I got at an Alabama Safeway, but no dice. I picked up a couple of sausages instead. So, dinner was Spaghetti and Sausage!

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 7

The New Thermostat
Sunday, December 15, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 7 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

I got a late start today, not that I had anything to do! I did listen to the Weekend Edition Puzzler on NPR the second time around - the first was at 6:40AM & I was still sleeping. I spent much of the day updating the RV blogs section of my website. I don't update that section anywhere near as much as I do when at home - I don't read as many new blogs, and while traveling, spend most of my web authoring time on my travel blog. Still, I do try to keep adding any new blogs I discover.

Since it was another beautiful day, I spent the rest of it outside reading and enjoying the sun. Today's only photo is of the new thermostat I added Friday. Notice the temperature reading - I almost had to turn on the Maxx fan to cool off the trailer. There won't be any star photos for awhile; almost a full moon tonight so very few are visible, and there isn't much around the trailer that makes a good moonlit photo.

I did get to spend some time with a couple of camping neighbors talking about the area, camping, RVs, and feeding the Quail. My dinner was a NY Strip steak, Korr's Rice & Broccoli, and some Tom & Jerry's Vanilla ice cream. Right now I'm enjoying a cup of hot Celestial Seasons Sweet Orange Tangerine tea. Not too bad a life!

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 6 & The Desert Bar

The Desert Bar
Saturday, December 14, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 6 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

Another day with little planned. I did some computer work during the morning, then, after lunch, drove to the Desert Bar. More than one Arizonian told me that a visit was required of anyone in southwestern Arizona area, so I went looking for it. It is about a 7 mile drive into the desert on a fairly good dirt road. I do wish I had aired down my tires - a rough ride, but not difficult driving. An interesting place. Only open on weekends during the winter, but the parking lot was filled. This is a huge gathering place in the middle of nowhere. They had a live country band, lots of seating in a number of different areas, including the bar. I had a beer, and bought a "T" shirt and talked with a number of people, most of which were, like me, from somewhere else. Definitely an interesting place that is worth the effort to find & visit.

After that it was back to the trailer, a almost warm shower (it got up to 67°F today) and dinner - just a sandwich & fruit.

Until tomorrow -

Friday, December 13, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 5

Noisy Boat!
Friday, December 13, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 5 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

I tried something new for breakfast - biscuits. While I've made them from scratch with varying results, I don't have all the ingredients to do that here in the trailer, so I used Bisquick. While I love Bisquick for making strawberry shortcake, I'm not so happy with their biscuits. Not what you would call light & fluffy! Still, something different.

The first project of the day was to replace the stock mechanical thermostat in the trailer with a digital one. I didn't really need to do it, in fact, I kind of liked the "clunk" the original made as the magnetic switch opened when the set temperature was reached. Gave you a 1-2 minute warning of when the furnace would be shutting down. Still, I wanted to have something that let you read the actual temperature in the trailer. While there was a "thermometer" in the original thermostat, it was impossible to read. You also had no indication of what temperature you set it for.

I purchased a Honeywell RTH111 Digital Thermostat at Home Depot, one of the few non-programmable ones available. All the thermostats I've purchased in the past included an actual wiring diagram that showed the various contacts in the thermostat. Honeywell only shows the letter codes without any information on what they do. That wouldn't be a problem if one was replacing a standard thermostat since the old one would probably use the same letter codes, but the trailer thermostat was uncoded. They do have an 800 number for help, but before I called it I tried a Google search & found what letter was what. Wired it up, tried it out & everything works.

I was not planning to do any photographs today, just sit around enjoying the sunshine after the thermostat replacement, but someone in a very loud V8 powered boat zipped by on the river. If he only did it once, it would have been OK, but the noise got annoying as he went back & forth across the campground a bunch of times. I finally grabbed the camera and took a photo. Not too far after I shot the photo he stopped & shut off the engine in the middle of the river. Seems he lost oil pressure. Someone in a fishing boat came along, hooked up a tow rope & towed him back to the beach. Of course I had to get a photo of that as well! Just rewards for all the noise!

I also took a photo of some Quail that hang out around the trailer, and some ducks in the river. Don't know what kind of ducks they are, but there are lots of them. As usual, additional photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I would love to do a star circle photo of the California side of the river, but the moon is too bright. I won't set until 3:30AM, so I probably won't get up that late to take a photo (I know, getting lazy in my old age) but I may try one before the moon goes down.

Dinner was a cheeseburger & salad.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 4

Sunset Over the Campground
Thursday, December 12, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 4 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

Not too much going on today. After a morning of reading blogs & forums, I headed to Lake Havasu City to do laundry & some shopping. Parker is closer, but I wanted to check out Cattail Cove (the park I'm heading to in a week or so). Looks OK, although my site is jammed in the middle of a bunch of them. I may try for an extended stay and see if I can move.

My GPS directed me to 3 non existent laundromats in Lake Havasu City - Lots of building going on, so I suspect they may have been there in the past, but no more!. Finally used my phone to look for one & punched the address into the GPS. I never got there - on the way I saw a small laundromat & decided that if I had my eyes on one, I'd use it.

After laundry it was a stop at Walmart. I actually had a shopping list and only bought a few things that were not on it!

After that it was a 31 mile drive back to the campground in a combination of sunshine, rain, and hail! Quite the weather variations, but at least is is slowly warming up, both during the day & night.

I cooked a homemade pepper, mushroom & onion pizza using the dough from Safeway for dinner. It worked pretty well, although I probably could have cut the dough in half and saved it for a second pizza - it made a very thick pizza. At least it was thick enough that the fresh peppers didn't soak through the crust like they usually do.

Not much in the way of photos, although I did take one of the sunset over the campground which I used for this post.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 3

Start of a Copper Mine
Wednesday, December 11, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 3 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

After breakfast I relaxed in the trailer for a bit, then took a hike on the Buckskin Trail. The first part was a duplicate of yesterday, but after that I took the foot bridge across AZ 95 and headed for the mines. Overall, about a 3 mile round trip hike over well groomed trails. Lots of steps up & down hills, but nothing too difficult. The mines look to be hand dug copper mines. I found 2 20' or so deep mines including Bucky's #3 Mine, and a bunch of trial or dry holes. I'm not sure where Bucky's #1 & #2 mines are, but I didn't find them. I collected a piece of quartz, and what might be copper ore from one of the tailings piles. Since my geological knowledge is pretty slim, I can get away with calling it copper ore even if it isn't, although I better not let my sister see it (she was chair of the Geology Department at Whittier College in California.) As usual, more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After returning to the trailer I talked with my neighbor, and sat outside reading. I didn't last too long; while it warmed up to 60°F, there was just enough wind to make it feel cold. I did take a shower in the nearby bathroom. While the toilets are closed, the showers are open. Let me tell you, while the water was warm enough (barely), the temperature in the bathroom was at least 10F cooler than outside. Another "quick drying" experience. I can understand why Arizona doesn't heat their bathrooms, at least in the southwest, since the year round temperatures are fairly high, but they sure could use some this winter!

Dinner was a couple of pot roast sandwiches. Verizon is providing 4G LTE service pretty much all the time now - the 3G service the first day I was here is gone, not that I'm complaining! It makes posting photos so much easier with the higher 4G speeds.

Until next time -

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 2

Buckskin Mountain State Park
Tuesday, December 10, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, Day 2 - 0 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

I started dinner right after breakfast. A bit unusual, but that's the way Crock Pots work. After that I went for a short "hike", actually more of a walk compared to those at Lost Dutchman & Picacho Peak. I took a panorama of the campground from the viewpoint at the end of the hike. The campgrounds on the other side of the Colorado River are actually in California, as is the cell antennas that both my AT&T phone and Verizon systems pick up. Since the time zone changes at the river, it is a bit confusing as the phone switches between systems in Arizona & California. They are still working on the blockage at the bathroom at this end of the campground. 2 other photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I tried sitting outdoors in the sun after the walk, but it was still only 49°F so I gave up when my fingers got numb and headed into the trailer. The high today was 53°F. At least the 35MPH wind died down. I read, checked some sites on the internet, although the campground only gets a weak 3G connection so things are slow (Which changed to 4G as I was posting the photos - Thanks Verizon!) I didn't even get to read the Syracuse newspaper; just too slow for it to work. I even took a short nap! That is a first - the last one I had was in the hospital when I had my small intestine operation in 2009, and probably 20 years before that for the previous one. I don't know why, but I just can't nap.

I do have to go on a bit about dinner since it is the first pot roast I've cooked in a crock pot - I usually use a cast iron chicken cooker on the stove top. The pot roast was excellent! For anyone who wants the recipe: Salt, Pepper & Garlic Powder a 1 1/2" lb Chuck Roast, dust with flour & brown. In a 4 quart crock pot add 1/2 cup of red wine, 1 & 1/2 cups of water, 1/2 a medium red onion thin sliced, 3 white potatoes in 1" chunks, a whole large Portobella mushroom cut in 1/2" slices (I like mushrooms), three tablespoons of Classico Fire Roasted Pizza Sauce, and a package of Korr dry vegetable soup mix. Cook on low for 6 hours. If I had them I would have added carrots, but is was still good with the few carrot chips in the dry soup mix. I even have enough left over for a couple of sandwiches for tomorrow.

Until next time -

Monday, December 9, 2013

Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ

Site 2, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ
Monday, December 9, 2013, Buckskin Mountain State Park, AZ, - 203.3 miles, 4,822.7 For the Trip

I'm glad I unhooked the water hose last night - it was 28°F at 8:00 this morning. I was packed up an ready to go by 8:30, but decided to wait until 9:00 for the morning Phoenix traffic to subside. I never ran into any heavy traffic on the way to Buckskin, so I guess it worked. I stopped at the Safeway in Parker to pick up a small chuck roast to cook in the crock pot tomorrow. They also had pizza dough, so I'll be making a pizza in the next day or two.

I'm in site 2 at Buckskin Mountain State Park. Sorry for the tree, but I needed it to block the sun, which was causing flare by shining directly into the camera lens. Looks like a neat place during the summer when you can swim & boat in the Colorado River. Right now it is windy and cold. Already down to 47°F at 5:00. I do have a bathroom near by, however it appears to be broken - only the sinks & showers are available, and at 47°F and no heat, I'm not up for a shower! There was a antique trailer get together here over the weekend with lots of fiberglass trailers. Only one Casita left & they are leaving tomorrow. The Casita photo at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a salad & chicken & rice soup. The salad was good, the soup (Pacific Natural Foods Organic Chicken & Wild Rice) was only barely OK.

Until next time -

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, Day 7

Tortilla Flat

Sunday, December 8, 2013, Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, Day 7 - 0 miles, 4,619.4 For the Trip

Another day with no trailer mileage, although I did some driving with the RAV4. After breakfast I drove to Apache Junction for some supplies. After filling the refrigerator & freezer it was off the Tortilla Flat. It is about 12 miles from the campground on the same road (AZ 88). A long 12 miles; most of the drive has a 25 MPH speed limit, and lots of twists & turns. The town isn't quite what I expected - just 3-4 gift shops & a Saloon that serves meals. Still, a nice drive & an interesting stop.

After returning, I decided to visit the Superstition Mountain Museum, a couple of miles from the campground. Not a huge place, but some interesting information & displays about the area. Since I never found the Lost Dutchman goldmine, I should have stopped here first. They have a bunch of maps on a display. Of course, since each one is different, somehow I don't think they would have helped!

The church outside the museum includes the steeple from the movie location on the other side of the mountain. The sets burned down, but the steeple was saved. There is quite a bit of information about the sets, actors, directors, etc that used the location.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After the museum it was back to the trailer & off to the bathroom for a shower. Even though it was the warmest part of the day at around 58°F, it sure was cold in the shower. The water was hot enough, but as soon as you turned it off you broke records getting dry! Dinner was pretty simple - a couple of hot dogs & the remaining broccoli. I tried Hebrew National hot dogs - OK, but nothing beats the Hoffman hot dogs that only seem to be available in the upstate NY area around Syracuse. I hooked up the trailer since I will be leaving in the morning. I could wait until morning, but it is going to be cold, so I did what I could tonight. I even disconnected the water line since the morning temperatures are going to be close to freezing.

Until next time -

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, Day 6 + Hike to the Basin & Goldfield Ghost Town

The Bordello at Goldfield Ghost Town
Saturday, December 7, 2013, Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, Day 6 - 0 miles, 4,619.4 For the Trip

Not quite as cold last night - only got down to 31F. After breakfast I decided to hike to the Siphon Draw Trail as far as the Basin. The trail continues on to the top of Flathead, but that is another mile with an elevation gain of 2000'. It also has a note that the last section to the Flathead is for experienced hikers only, and I haven't decided if I'm experienced! I did go a couple of hundred yards past the top of the Basin, but my 69 year old legs & lungs suggested that I quit.

After getting back to the trailer, I sat around in the sun reading and enjoying the warmth - it was quite cold in the shadows at the top of the basin.

I decided to go back the the Goldfield Ghost Town to take a couple of photos. Some neat buildings, but the fact that most of them are shops is quite a bit different from a real ghost town, or even the recreated Bodie State Historical Park ghost town in California. In any case, the church makes a nice photo as does the Bordello next door. They had a gunfight, so I took a few photos of it, then headed back to the trailer to relax for the rest of the day.

Photos from the hike & more from the Ghost Town are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Since I need to do some grocery shopping, dinner will be out of the freezer. Probably Veal Cutlet, Rice & Broccoli...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Lost Dutchman State Park, Day 5 & Petroglyphs


Friday, December 6, 2013, Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, Day 5 - 0 miles, 4,619.4 For the Trip

I woke up to a frozen water house this morning, and 27°F on the outside thermometer. It didn't happen to my neighbor, but I'm connected through my short hose which doesn't reach the ground. I suspect the residual heat from the earth keeps a hose on the ground from freezing. By the time I ate breakfast the sun came out and the frozen hose was back to normal.

David and Bill, a friend of his from Colorado invited me on a hike to a group of petroglyphs in the Tonto National Forest. Not too much of a climb, and about 3 miles round trip. Lots of petroglyphs around a small creek. While many of the washes in the desert are only streams after a rain, this one looks like it is fairly constant - there in algae in the bottom of the pools. I suspect the Native Americans that did the artwork used the area as a water source. There was a nice balanced rock above the petroglyphs, but too far to hike to and too short a lens for a good photo. Many more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After the hike we went to the Goldfield Ghost Town. Billed as "Arizona's Only Authentic Ghost Town" - it is basically a craft & tourist trap, although there were some very nice & interesting crafts. The Mammoth Saloon serves a huge 8 ounce, delicious cheeseburger covered with mushrooms, onions, lettuce & tomato that came with good French fries. After lunch we walked around the various shops, than came back to the campsite so I could show Dave & Bill my trailer. I had a great time with the, over the last couple of days - and will probably meet up with David and his wife Paula at the Quartzite Fiberglass get together in February.

Dinner was the 8 ounce hamburger I had for lunch!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, Day 4 & 4 Wheeling

Four Wheeling
Thursday, December 5, 2013, Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, Day 4 - 0 miles, 4,619.4 For the Trip

After breakfast I drove over to Dave and Paula's to go on a 4 wheel Jeep ride. They have a Jeep Rubicon that is lifted as well as outfitted to climb back country trails, and, as I discovered on our ride, climb rocks. We went with two other couples in their Jeeps. While some of the driving was on roads, some was along washes, and in one section, right up the side of a large bunch of rocks. While we went up the section that looked to me like a vertical face of rock, at the top Dave was concerned about hanging up on a rock along the edge, so we backed down. He really wished he had his other Jeep which is even better outfitted for climbing over rocks, but it isn't street legal, so we couldn't drive it to the start of the trail.

While I have ridden on some "interesting" roads in Dick & Anne's 4 Runner, these outfitted Jeeps are a whole different ball game. They love to get into a wash and climb the rocks on the way up. They include adjustable suspension that produces tremendous clearance as well as the ability to drive up the face & over rocks the size of small cars. Lots of fun! More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After the drive we stopped for a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Superior. Good Green Chili!

After that it was back to Dave & Paula's to pick up the RAV4 and head back to the trailer. It is definitely cooling off. At 7:00 it is down to 46°F, and only made it into the 50's during the day. Everyone tells me that this is not the usual weather, but it seems that I must be causing it - I hear that a lot while traveling.

Until Next Time -

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, Day 3

"Is this a Medicinal Plant?" led by Ranger Gregory
Wednesday, December 4, 2013, Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, Day 3 - 0 miles, 4,619.4 For the Trip

Lots of photos today, although many are duplicates of previous days. Last night I tried for a couple more star photos. There is still too much spill light from Apache Junction for a good dark sky, but there were fewer clouds so they came out a little better, although I do like the version with clouds as well. There was enough spill that I barely had use a flashlight to provide fill light for the trailer at night photo.

I started today day with a 3 hour hike - "Is this a Medicinal Plant?" led by Ranger Gregory. Learned a lot about the plants of the Sonoran Desert as well as information about the area.

After the hike I found a note in my trailer door from Dave & Paula from the Fiberglass Trailer Forum. They live a few miles from the park. They invited me for lunch - great homemade turkey soup . We talked about trailers, places, & people, got a tour of their Scamp, and an invite for a jeep trip tomorrow. I got back to the trailer around 4:00 & found an interesting insect hanging out. I believe it is a "Walking Stick", at least it fits the description. I also took a couple of photographs of a hummingbird at the feeder & the sunset. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner will be just cheese & crackers since I had a good sized lunch at Dave & Paula's.

Until Next Time -

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, Day 2

The Superstition Mountains & Stars
Tuesday, December 3, 2013, Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, Day 2 - 0 miles, 4,619.4 For the Trip

Not a bad day - I walked around the campground before breakfast, and met someone that saw someone base jump off the mountain. Must have been some climb to get up there.

I did take a couple of night photos last night, but the clouds got in the way. Still, with the first you can see what I'm trying to do. The second one is a 48 minute exposure that would work if there were no clouds, but with them only the brightest stars leave trails, and the sky doesn't turn black. By the way, it was almost completely dark for both photos. The first was at 8:30, and the second a little after 10:00 - the reflections of lights from Apache Junction off the clouds produced the haze & the lighting on the mountain. Maybe it will be better tonight, although the predictions don't look like it.

Since one of the campground hosts had bird feeders set up around their trailer, I decided to put out my hummingbird feeder. It is hanging off the support for the front window cover, which allows me to shoot through the window. The good - most of the birds don't seem to be bothered by me just inches from the feeder. The bad - shooting through window glass. At least is is a single pane window. Most of my are double. Anyway, I got distracted for awhile shooting the different birds that came for a visit. Even got one or two hummingbirds! Don't ask what kind of birds they are, although the hummingbird looks like a Ruby Throated, which I thought was only found in the East.

The rest of today's photos are at the LakeshoreImages page.

I probably should have done some hiking today since the weather is predicted to get much cooler & possible rain, but I didn't. Goofed off the rest of the day, took a nice hot shower in a cold bathroom, read, and put together today's page. I did make some decisions (and reservations) for the next 4 weeks. On the 9th I heading to Buckskin Mountain for two weeks, and after that, moving a few miles north to Cattail Cove for the following two weeks. On January 6th, I'll have to find a new home!

Not sure what dinner will be...

Until Next Time -

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ

Site 47 & the Superstition Mountains, Lost Dutchman State Park
Sunday, December 1, 2013, Picacho Peak State Park, AZ, Day 4 - 103.8 miles, 4,619.4 For the Trip

Back on the road for a short trip up I10. I stopped at an IHOP outside of Phoenix to meet with Arizona Eileen, a Casita owner who is very active on many of the fiberglass forums, and publishes the Casita Bible - "Love My Casita Guide", a PDF eBook available on a CD that many consider far better than anything the Casita factory produces. We had a good brunch, talking about fiberglass trailers, travel, the west (and a bit of the east) etc. I hope to see her again at the Quartzite Gathering in February.

After that I continued on towards the Lost Dutchman. I stopped in Apache Junction to do laundry. Definitely time! Since I tried to use a $20.00 bill in an unmanned machine to wash my car a while back, and discovered that all it would do is give me $20.00 worth of quarters, I was ready to do laundry for many stops. Unfortunately, the place I stopped used a card rather than quarters. Actually, it worked well, and after washing & drying I was able to trade the card back in for the remaining funds.

Lost Dutchman State Park sits at the base of the Superstition Mountains. It is named after the lost gold mine that people are still trying to find. A beautiful setting. I took the usual site photo, but had to include the background. I also took a few photos as the sun was setting. The color got better and better as the sun was setting, although the clouds were heavy enough that it never got the beautiful red color I found at Catalina State Park. The last image was a long exposure just after the sun finished setting. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

My site is far enough from the bathrooms that it looks like it will actually get dark (other than the Christmas lights on some of the other trailers). Unfortunately, while a photo of the stars over the mountains would be neat, it was a cloudy day and it was even more socked in at sunset. I'll check a couple of times during the night, but it doesn't look good. On top of that, the predictions are for much cooler weather along with rain during the week. Since the new moon (no moonlight to obscure the stars) is tonight, I may not get the photo I was hoping for.

As I mentioned, dinner was leftover rice & chicken. I did do some shopping at Food City in Apache Junction. An interesting store. I don't know why since we are not as close to Mexico as some of the other towns I've shopped in, but the amount of Mexican food was impressive. Much of it was actually Mexican rather than American made.

Until Next Time -

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Picacho Peak State Park, AZ, Day 4

Along the Hunter Trail to Picacho Peak
Sunday, December 1, 2013, Picacho Peak State Park, AZ, Day 4 - 0 miles, 4,515.6 For the Trip

Another quiet day. I did a short hike on the Hunter trail to see how different it was from the Sunset Vista trail I took to get to Picacho Peak. I didn't go all the way to the saddle, in fact I only climbed a little part of the trail. It is quite a bit steeper than the Sunset Vista trail, which makes sense since it goes to the same place in 1.1 fewer miles. Took a couple of photos - the second one shows some climbers working their way down in the upper center. Other photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After that I relaxed, read, and took a walking tour of the campground. Most people left today - there are only about 15 RVs left in the park. I decided to make a "Sunday" dinner. I've been carrying a frozen tiny whole chicken since the beginning of the trip, and moved it from the freezer to the refrigerator on Friday. It is finally unfrozen, so I roasted it, along with a package of Vigo Yellow Rice (my favorite packaged rice) and fresh snap peas. Also broke out a bottle of Merlot, which probably is the wrong wine for chicken, but who cares? Maybe I shouldn't even admit to the wine since I'm not sure it is allowed in Arizona State Parks. There are a lot of states that forbid alcohol...

Anyway, it was a great dinner, and I have left over chicken & rice (and wine) for tomorrow.

Until Next Time -