Friday, February 28, 2014

Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Day 3

Site 14, Cottonwood Campground, Joshua Tree National Park
Friday, February 28, 2014, Cottonwood Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Day 3 - 84.8 miles , 5461.2 For the Trip

I didn't even bother waiting until the Ranger Station opened since it was obvious that the campsite was reserved for the weekend, and the office didn't open until 12:00. I was packed and on the road by 7:30, and arrived back at Cottonwood Campground by 9:00. Someone was in A16, so I set up in A14. A bit shorter site, but everything fit.

There was light rain off & on all night at Black Rock, a bit heavier as I packed up (naturally)! During the drive to Cottonwood the rain stopped, and it stayed dry while I set up, then down it came. Lots of wind, lots of rain, heavy at times, and it didn't stop until around 4:00. It was also quite cool at 56°F. I know that is warm to some back east, but after living in 75° - 90° for the last month, particularly with the rain & wind, it feels cold!

For the first time of the trip, I spent the entire day in the trailer. Lots of reading, playing Candy Crush (I'm up to 76, I know, but not too bad for an old guy!) and watching the rain run down the windows.

I'm not sure what dinner will be - if it stays dry, I will probably cook a turkey burger, if not, it will be soup cooked inside. Right now I'm headed for the "Cell Zone" to post today's journals & catch up on my mail.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Site 11, Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree national Park
Thursday, February 27, 2014, Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA- 85.8 miles ,5376.4 For the Trip

Well, I have now parked the trailer in the most unlevel site I've ever been in. If you camp at Black Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, I strongly suggest avoiding Site 11. What's more, I'm pretty sure I'll be kicked out tomorrow. At 3:30, I went to the Cottonwood Welcome Center and asked the ranger to radio Black Rock to see if site 11 was still open. I guess I asked wrong - it looks like it is open tonight, but reserved for the rest of the weekend. I'll try to straighten things out tomorrow, but since it was the only site not reserved for the weekend, I'm probably going to have to find somewhere else. As I said, it was tough getting into - I arrived a bit after 5:00 and didn't get set up until 6:00. The site photo above is the only one for the day.

Anyway, we didn't get any of the rain that fell on much of southern California, but lots of wind. I spend most of the day reading, walking around the campground (the trails at Cottonwood are all closed due to earlier flooding stirring up the tailings of the mines along the trails.

As I noted in the late posting of yesterday's journal, I did drive to the parking area that has cell reception. Pretty amazing - it goes from none to 4 bars of 4G LTE service in a couple 100 feet. Other than that, just hanging around the campsite waiting until it was time to radio Black Rock.

Dinner was a can of Cambell's Chunky Chipotle Chicken & Corn Chowder. For canned soup it was pretty good!

Until tomorrow -

Cottonwood Campground, Joshua Tree National Park

A Joshua Tree
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, Cottonwood Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA- 115 miles, 5290.6 For the Trip

Well, it has been a long time, but I have found a campground without internet (or any cell coverage, or even FM radio for that matter). I've been told there is a space between the mountains about 4 miles south of the campground where there is cell service. I'll try for that tomorrow. I found the space!!!

I'm in site A16 at the Cottonwood Campground in Joshua Tree National Park. Kinda lonely - when I arrived, I was the only one here other than the campground host, although by the time I got back from driving around the park about 8 other campers have moved in. I stopped at the Cottonwood Visitor Center to show my pass & pay for a week at the campground ($7.50 per night with the pass), set up the trailer, then drove through the park. It is large - I put over 150 miles on the RAV4 going through the park & to Black Rock campground, the one furthest from Cottonwood.

It is amazing how the plants change with location and altitude in the park. For example, individual Cholla cactus are located throughout the park, but in one section they are everywhere. Parts of the park are flat sand while others are huge rocks. Lots of variety!

While Cottonwood is OK, there is cell reception at Black Rock - I'm going to check around 4:00 tomorrow, and if no one reserves site 11 at Black Rock for the weekend, I will move there for the rest of my week.

I took a photo of some interesting hills along CA 78, my site photo, some of the stops in the park, and some interesting plants in the campground:

I did try for some star photos after dark. It is still too early in the year for good images of the milky way, but it was a fairly clear night, and, with the exception of a few other campers, dark.

As usual, many more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Until the next chance to post -

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Anza-Borrego State Park, CA, Day 2

A Roadrunner
Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Anza-Borrego State Park, CA, Day 2 - 0 miles, 5175.6 For the Trip

At day 139, this in now my longest trip, with or without the trailer (I don't count the year in Vietnam as a trip!). Still having fun. Today I hiked the Panoramic Overlook Trail. A bit steep at times, but an easy 1 mile round trip. Since it provides a panoramic view of the park, I included a panorama. Don't click on the link to the large view unless you have a fast connection & plenty of data allotment- it is 2.7MB.

After the hike I drove into Borrego Springs (the nearest town about 2 miles from the park) to check out the shops, mail a card, and buy some groceries. I shouldn't complain about gas at $3.92 like yesterday - here it is $4.09 for regular unleaded. I toured the local art gallery - not all that impressed with most of the paintings, but there was some good photography displayed from a Desert Photography contest.

Didn't do much else other than the usual reading, relaxing, etc. I did finally catch a photo of the roadrunner that loves to run through my site. It is either an immature of female - the males have more color on their heads. I do understand why Wiley Coyote has so many problems - they are fast! I also included a photo of the my last sunset at Imperial Dam. While it is only in the mid 80's, it feels much hotter. Might be the bit of sunburn I got on the hike! Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner will be spaghetti and meatballs; I'll save the left over chicken breast for tomorrow. I was heading for a shower, but I think I'll wait until after dinner - about 20 kids just walked by carrying towels!

Until tomorrow -

Monday, February 24, 2014

Anza-Borrego State Park, CA

Site 81, Anza-Borrego State Park, CA
Monday, February 24, 2014, Anza-Borrego State Park, CA, -167.6 miles, 5175.6 For the Trip

It has been awhile since a day on the road. I stopped in Yuma to do laundry, and, since they were next door, a haircut. I also stopped at a Vons along CA 78 to resupply the fridge. Found out I didn't need a new card for Vons - my Safeway card works at Vons. I also stopped for gas - boy I can tell I'm out of Arizona & in California. Of course I picked the wrong station & paid $3.92 per gallon - a half mile down the road it was $3.62, still 30 cents more per gallon than in Yuma.

I'm in site 81 at Anza-Borrego State Park. All the sites in this loop look like they were designed for tents, class B or truck campers - I managed to fit the trailer & the RAV4 in my site by angling the car, but another foot longer & I'd have to unhook. While I may do that anyway to explore the small town next to the park, I left it hooked for the night.

I was hoping for an electric site since I haven't had hookups since La Paz, however they were all taken. Since the back of my site faces south, I should be OK with the solar panel. One nice feature of the park are the bathrooms. They have showers. It takes a $.50 token for 3 minutes, and it is a real 3 minutes, unlike some other pay showers that say 3, but actually give you 5 or so. Still, it was nice to have more elbow room than the shower in the Escape.

Today's photos are of the site, a fellow fiberglass traveler in a Casita (there are two of them in the campground) some of the larger spaces in another loop, and, the showers (hey, I said I appreciated them!) I have no problems posting here in the park. At least here at site 81 I have 3-4 bars of signal on both Verizon & AT&T. It is only 3G, but a good solid signal. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a chicken breast & frozen California mix vegetables.

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 14

The Library
Sunday, February 23, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 14 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

The last day at Imperial Dam. I didn't do much other than listen to the concert at the Ramada during the afternoon, did a bit of packing to get out earlier in the morning, and finally cooked a chicken thigh for dinner. No photos.

While I will still write blog & journal posts over the next couple of days, according to the reports I've read, there is no network connections at Anza Borrego State Park or at Joshua Tree National Park, my next two stops. Actual postings will have to wait for a connection to the internet.

Until tomorrow or whenever -

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 13

My Trailer From the Water Tank
Saturday, February 22, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 13 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

On my walk yesterday I went to the water tank on top of a hill overlooking the campground (about 3 miles round trip). A great view of the place, however I didn't have my camera with me. so, this morning I took my backup camera (a Nikon D200 with the 18 - 200 zoom lens that weighs much less than the D700 with its f: 2.8 lens) and hiked back up to the tank for a photo. I included a close up of my site as well as a wide angle view that shows much of the South Mesa section of Imperial Dam Long Term Camping area.

As long as I had the camera, I decided to take some general photos of the campground for those that have not been here & might be interested. First, the golf course. Yes, there is one, although it is not like most. No grass, and only a few holes (all of which are larger than normal) but there is a group that plays every morning.

I also included photos of the greeting signs, the water fill area, the dumpsters (the only ones in the campground, so it is a 1/2 mile hike to them from the trailer), the four dump stations, the office, the outdoor showers, the bulletin board, and my favorite stop, the Liberry. As with each my trips, there was a wedding in the campground (well, the reception - the weddings took place in another section). The reception was in the Gravel Pit Ramada.  Photos at today's lakeshoreImages page.

That is about it for the day. A bit cooler (it went down to 48°F last night) and cloudy - my batteries never quite got back to full.

Dinner will be a chicken thigh & snap peas.

Until tomorrow -

Friday, February 21, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 12

Friday, February 21, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 12 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

Another quiet day. The wind died down to a breeze, but it was quite a bit cooler this morning than the last couple of days - I even wished I had worn a long sleeved shirt when I went for my morning walk.

I finished off a tank of propane today - I can usually tell because as the tank reaches the bottom it picks up more of the "smell" added to help detect leaks. That ends up in the refrigerator flame, and I can smell it as I go by the fridge. Sure enough, one of the tanks was empty. I drove to the Yuma Proving Grounds gas station for propane. $2.81 per gallon - I don't know if that is good or bad, but it is less than I paid for the last fill up.

Other than that, the day was spent reading & goofing off.

Dinner was a cheeseburger & broccoli.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 11

A 120 Packard
Thursday, February 20, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 11 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

The wind that the weather reports promised for last night never happened, although it did pick up this afternoon. We did have an Amber alert at 3:00AM. They always seem to happen in the middle of the night, and even though my phone says "No Service" it picks them up and rings at full volume. Sure wakes one up, although the message on my iPhone goes away when I open it (which I automatically do when it rings in the middle of the night) so all I know is it was for a van in Arizona.

No photographs today so I used one from yesterday; my favorite of the cars on display  - just about all I did was go for my walk, read, hit the librarry, and make a run to the dumpsters. While I was reading I saw/heard the strangest hummingbird yet. It never stopped at the feeder, but flew by about 4' off the ground screaming! While I've often heard them chirp, this was a continuous shriek! Almost sounded like a bullet going by. I wasn't sure what it was the first time since it went by so fast, but it made two more passes. Might have been a different type of hummingbirds from what I've been seeing, but it was so fast I never got a good look at it.

That was all the excitement for the day!

Dinner will be a sandwich made with the other half of the chicken breast from last night, and broccoli.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 10 & Car Show

Four Burros
Wednesday, February 98, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 10 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

Another day of not doing much. I got bored of reading, walking, and my other usual activities, so I decided I needed a head of lettuce. That makes sense, doesn't it? I did forget it when shopping yesterday (the excuse - it wasn't on the list!) So, first I tried the store at Hidden Shores Campground. Hidden Shores is a commercial campground on BLM land that is typical of area commercial campgrounds - barely room to get the slide out on your 45' motorhome. The store does have more than your typical campground store, but nothing in the way of fresh vegetables.

On the other hand, they are having a car show, and I'm old enough to appreciate seeing cars that I can remember when they were new with a "Historic Plate" on them. My favorite was the 120 Packard. Along with the cars was a lawn mower that shows what happens when a mechanically minded person has too much time on his or her hands. He switched the Kohler engine for a 66 horsepower gas turbine. It was well done - looks like the turbine belongs there, although the exhaust stack coming out the front is a clue something isn't stock. It is also just a tad louder than the standard engine.

They also had an inexpensive lunch & some sky divers. I never saw them jump, but did get a photo of the airplane. Photos on today's LakeshoreImages page. After all the excitement, I headed down AZ 95 for a farm market, and picked up a head of lettuce & some broccoli.

Back at the campground, I discovered Anne, whose Escape 17 parked next to mine at the Quartzite gathering parked in the same general area here at Imperial Dam. She has a website called Right Brain; Right Lane. We chatted a bit, and I told her about the burros that I hear most nights, but never see in the campground. Of course, they had to prove me wrong - about a half hour later 4 of them trotted through the flats below us.

Dinner was a grilled chicken sandwich (with the special trip lettuce & tomato, of course) and the rest of the asparagus.

Until tomorrow -

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 9

Too Bright Star Circle
Tuesday, February 18, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 9 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

After breakfast I headed to Yuma for my errands. There are three Allstate offices in Yuma, and, of course, I picked the one furtherest from my other stops. Other than that, they were very nice about putting together a packet with all my coverage information, along with the proof of insurance cards. I also managed to pick up my meds at CVS, and like the last time, my 3 refills switched to 0. I know this is done in NY, but was told most states didn't eliminate refills on a transfered prescription. According to the CVS pharmacist, it is the fault of my home town pharmacy since they stated there were no refills. Who knows? According to this CVS, I'll have to call in or stop in with a refill request that they will FAX to my doctor in order to get new prescriptions. I do have paper copies of all my prescriptions; it may be easier to just use them for the next refill. I'll worry about that in 90 days!

Since there is no Safeway in Yuma, at least according to my GPS, I found an Albertsons & shopped there. They don't use a discount card, seem to be a bit more expensive than Safeway, and have less of what I usually purchase on sale. In any case, I'm restocked.

Since I didn't take any photos, I'm adding a few hummingbird images from yesterday, and a 1 hour, 13 1/2 minute star trail exposure from last night. A good star trail requires absolute darkness. Even though it looked dark last night (at least until the moon came up) there was enough light to whiten the sky far more than desired. In any case, there were few enough clouds to the north (the star that appears as a point rather than a circle is the North Star) that I did get an image. While the moon rise will be later tonight, giving me more time for the sky to get dark, there are lots of thin clouds that will probably cause problems. At least the clouds held off long enough that my batteries are back to fully charged.

The hummingbird photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner is going to be a cod fillet, and asparagus. I tried for halibut, one of my favorites (other than blue fin tuna & striped bass) but they didn't have any. The fish monger (actually the butcher) said they didn't have any because it was going for $30.00 per pound. I guess that is a bit steep, although when you are buying for one, it doesn't seem as bad as when feeding a family...

Until tomorrow -

Monday, February 17, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 8

Monday, February 17, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 8 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

I didn't do much today. Lots of reading and my 2 miles around the campground was about it. I did drive up to the top of the hill so I could use the RAV4's AT&T amplifier. Without the amp I had lots of drops trying to talk with friends yesterday. With the amp it shows 3 bars of extended AT&T, and since I wanted to check with CVS & Allstate in Yuma, I figured dropped calls would be a problem.

My meds are in, and Allstate has printed out my proof of insurance for the next 6 months. I was a bit worried about getting the form since I won't be near any place that has an Allstate office for awhile after next week. So, it looks like another trip to Yuma. I also need some food supplies, so I'll combine it all.

I did take a few more hummingbird photos, but nothing worth posting. Since the moon rise is getting later & later, I was hoping to do a star circle photo, but it has been cloudy over the last few nights, so I'll probably have to wait.

Dinner was spaghetti & meatballs.

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 7 & Concert

Concert at the Gravel Pit
Sunday, February 16, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 7 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

A big breakfast today - pancakes & bacon. I started out by leveling the table the stove sits on, so no runoff! Because of my somewhat limited water supply (refilling means hooking up the trailer & driving to the fill station 3/4 of a mile away) I also mixed the batter in a plastic drinking cup to avoid having to clean a mixing bowl.

All in all, it was big enough & late enough that I skipped lunch, although I did take the time to read the Syracuse paper.   I'm trying to limit my power usage since yesterday my laptop crashed while I was outside reading & decided to draw over 10 amps for about an hour.  Of course today is cloudy, so I'm not getting the full impact of my solar panel...

The Gravel Pit Ramada (located just below & east of my site) is home to a Sunday afternoon jam session. Wasn't sure what to expect, but there is a feast of musicians playing all kinds of instruments. I can listen from my site, but went down to take some photos. Well planned; they even have a dial posted to tell everyone what key the next number is in. Like all get-togethers of this type, there are various levels of talent, but for the most part they are very good. Wish I had my recording gear! Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner will be a grilled chicken thigh & the rest of the snap peas.

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 6

Hot Springs BLM, CA

Saturday, February 15, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 6 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

I will not whine about the heat! I will not whine about the heat! I will not whine about the heat! There, I got that out of my system. ( It hit 90°F again today...)

After doing a count of my stash of medicine, and thinking about where I'm planning to go over the next month, I decided I needed some transferred refills from my home pharmacy. Since Yuma is the closest place with a CVS, that is where I went this morning. Since it takes a couple of days for a transfer to go through, I was planning to pick up the meds when I went by Yuma on the way to Hot Springs next Monday, but after looking at Hot Springs, the plans change.

Yes, I drove to Hot Springs to check it out. I wasn't all that impressed. Very small soaking tubs that were filled with people. The camping area was also pretty full. While there were a few spaces available, they were a long way from the spring. So, I'm going to stay here at Imperial Dam for the remainder of my permit, then head towards Joshua Tree, possibly by way of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and, either make another trip to Yuma unhooked, or go by the city on the way.

I did stop at a rest stop to take a couple of photographs of the Imperial Dunes Recreation Area. Lots of dune buggy's driving up & down the dunes. On the way back my GPS took me on a tour of many of the Imperial County farm roads before it found county route 24, which eventually hits Senator Wash, the road leading to the Imperial Dam BLM campground. On the way I passed Laguna Dam & the nearby campground. I now understand the note on one of the campground reviews about the noise from the dam - it wouldn't bother me since I love the sound of water, but I guess it might be a problem for some. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a steak, mashed potatoes & snap peas.

Until tomorrow -

Friday, February 14, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 5

Behind Imperial Dam
Friday, February 14, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 5 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

Happy Valentine's Day!!

I skipped my walk today - even at 8:00AM it was too warm. I know this will annoy those back east, or, for that matter, almost anywhere else in the country, but it is HOT here. 92°F today.

I did quite a bit or reading, and went to Imperial Dam to take a couple of photographs of it. A very wide, but low (31 feet high) dam on the Colorado River. The host at the boat launch told me that you can stay in the parking lot at the dam for 3 days for free. I can understand how so little water is left in the Colorado by the time it hits Mexico - lots of irrigation canals branching off at many dams. From what I've read, one of the most regulated rivers in the US.

I decided to try for gas at the Yuma Proving Grounds. I have enough to get to the Hot Springs (my next stop) but since I'm down to 1/2 a tank, my rule is to fill up ASAP. At the gate they asked for my license, registration & proof of insurance, but the gas station was open to all.

On the way back to the campground I finally saw some of the burros that run around the campground. I've heard then at night, seen their tracks going through my campsite, but never actually saw one until today. Since I was on the main road I didn't stop, but grabbed a couple of quick (and lousy) shots. Finally, a photo of the moon rise over one of the trailers.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was snap peas & a turkey burger.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 4

Yes, More Hummingbirds!
Thursday, February 13, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 4 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

Another quiet day at Imperial Dam. I did make scrambled eggs for breakfast & discovered that my grill wasn't quite as level as I thought it was - still got enough to eat, but cleaning up the stove was not much fun!

Very warm today. I talked with Mike from Colorado & a couple from Ontario who were taking shelter in the Gravel Pit Ramada from the sun. I read, and kicked back most of the day. Of course I did get my 2 miles in, going in a new direction and getting lost by choosing the wrong road, but eventually found my way back to the trailer.

Last night I took a panorama of the campground at sunset, as well as a few night photos. This afternoon I sat next to the hummingbird feeder for a few photos. And finally, I took a photo of the moon-rise & sunset over the campground. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner is cooking as I type - Stouffer's Chicken Teriyaki. I took a break from typing and ate - not too bad for a frozen pre made dinner, although not up to my favorite - Wanchai Orange Chicken, which doesn't seem to be available here in the southwest. While I like to keep one or two of these frozen dinners in the freezer at home for quick skillet meals, they take up too much room for my small RV refrigerator, so I usually use them within a day or two of purchasing them.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 3

Yuma Proving Grounds
Wednesday, February 12, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 3 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

Another warm day - it was in the mid 80's by noon, at least in Yuma. I drove to Yuma to do laundry & restock food supplies. I took a photo of the moon & one of the balloons that I believe are used by immigration to watch the border.

Imperial Dam Road goes past the Yuma Proving Ground, and they have a display of armored vehicles & guns near the entrance from AZ 95. I stopped to take a few photos, the rest at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After that it was south on AZ95 to Yuma. I found a small laundromat that was only $1.25 to wash & $.75 to almost dry, although one of the driers didn't so it cost me an extra $.75 & 45 minutes to get the job done. A little further down I8 is the closest Walmart. I was going to also go to Food City, but Walmart had everything I needed and the Food City was another 9 miles away. Of course, because I had frozen food in the ice chest I had to stop for a long freight train on the way back, but made it before the ice cream melted!

I'm not sure what dinner will be; probably just cheese & crackers since I had a late lunch - chicken sandwich made with leftovers from last night's dinner.

Until tomorrow -

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 2

Tuesday, February 11, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA, Day 2 - 0 miles, 5008 For the Trip

Not much in the way of activity. I did walk around the campground before breakfast - only covered a small part of it doing my 2 miles. I spent most of the day catching up on reading, both my current book & some web pages. Very windy, but clear skies & warm - in the low 80's. No photos today. I was hoping for some star circles since there isn't much ambient light from the campground, but the moon is at three quarters, so it washes out the stars.

Dinner was a chicken breast & the rest of the broccoli.

Until tomorrow -

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ, Day 7

Packing up the Ladderball Frames

Sunday, February 9, 2014, Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ, Day 7 - 0 miles 4,933.9 For the Trip

A quiet Sunday, and one of the warmest of my stay here ar Quartzite. After reading the Syracuse Post Standard I wandered around the gathering saying good by to those leaving today. That was just about everyone, although there are still plenty of trailers scattered around the area. Most will be leaving tomorrow, some only moving a few miles to the long term area here at Quartzite.

The center photo on todays LakeshoreImages page is of a collection of quartz gathered by someone. I can see how the place was named - about 5% of the rocks on the surface are white quartz.

Dinner was a cheeseburger.

Until tomorrow -

Imperial Dam BLM, CA

My Site
Monday, February 10, 2014, Imperial Dam BLM, CA - 74.1 miles, 5008 For the Trip

I drove to the laundromat this morning, not to do laundry, but for a shower, $6.00 & they supply the soap, shampoo, washcloth & towel. I also made a last stop for provisions at the Roadrunner market since there are not any stores in the Imperial Dam area & it is about 25 miles from there to Yuma.

After packing up & saying good by to the remaining "hanger's ons", it was down AZ 95 to Imperial Dam road. Since the BLM Long Term Campground is in California, I'm back to mixed up time - the radio station I listen to is in Yuma on mountain time while the campground is on Pacific time. To add even more confusion, I regularly listen to my home town radio station on the internet and it is eastern time. Good thing I don't have to be anywhere on time.

The Imperial Dam BLM camping area is huge. I registered for 14 days for $40.00. Not sure how long I'll stay, but even two days puts me under my average for the trip, which is, after a week of free camping at Quartzite, now at $22.73 for the trip. While there isn't much to do here, I could use a couple of days kicking back & doing nothing. I did stop by the librarry (that is how they spell it) and traded in 6 books for 6 new ones. I forgot to take my phone (where I keep the database of read books) so I managed to pick out two that I've already read, but I'll take them back the next time I go.

My location is on the west side of the Gravel Pit Ramada. The site is almost level - I had to use the Anderson leveler to even out left to right, but haven't even unhitched the RAV4 - it was close enough. If I decide to drive into Yuma, I'll unhitch then. An advantage of the location is there is a pit toilet next to the ramada, much closer than the regular bathrooms. One minor problem - there are 100's of flies in the pit that are annoying if you sit! I know, too much information. Oh, and there is the big cardboard box of pecan shells that the last person here left in my fire pit, not that I'll be using it.

Only one other photo of part of the campground at today's LakeshoreImages page.  And, sorry for the out-of-order posts.  Verizon was being weird last night & while I thought the February 9th post went through, when I looked after posting today's post, it didn't.  So, they are reversed.

Dinner was a turkey burger & some excellent broccoli I picked up in Quartzite. I don't quite understand it - for the most part the vegetables I've been buying here in the southwest next to the growing center of America are usually not all that good. I know it is winter, but even in the dead of Oswego's NY winters vegetables are fresher. Today's broccoli was an exception.

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ, Day 6

Explaining the Rules For Ladderball
Saturday, February 8, 2014, Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ, Day 6 - 0 miles 4,933.9 For the Trip

Like most rallies or trailer get togethers, Saturday was the busiest. It started out with a Swap Sale where one could either sell or give away stuff you no longer needed. After the sale Greg from OffTheGridRVSolar demonstrated and offered at a group sale price their folding solar panel.

Lunch was the soup mix. Everyone brings a can of soup, and they are all mixed in a couple of large pots - one chicken based, one beef based & one lactose intolerant. While is sounds a bit odd, it actually tastes great. I had the chicken.

After the soup it was time for ladder ball. I've never played, although it has been done at a couple of rallies I've attended. I always skipped playing to take photographs. Couldn't get away with it this time, so I teamed up with Lance, another one who has never played. The object is to toss a pair of golf balls tied together with close line onto a ladder made of PVC pipe. Top rung - 3 points, middle, 2 and bottom 1 point. Game to 21, played in teams. Sorry, no photos of the winners - Lance & I had beginner's luck, and came in second. I am now the proud owner of a Scamp Owners International shirt! Lts of photos on today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was left over stir fry.

Until tomorrow -

Friday, February 7, 2014

Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ, Day 5

Gathering Around the Fire Pit

Friday, February 7, 2014, Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ, Day 5 - 0 miles 4,933.9 For the Trip

Lots of activity today with many more trailers arriving. I didn't do a count since I got talking, and it is too dark now. A brand new, first available 2014 Sidekick Trillium from Great West Vans appeared in the afternoon, and attracted quite a crowd. I also got some photos of a flyby of an ultralight, and a collection of images of trailers & people attending the gathering. Just before dark Dave & Paula from Apache Junction arrived in the Jeep I got a ride in when I was at the Lost Dutchman State Park. Anyone interested, they are selling their Scamp.  Many more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a stir fry made with potatoes, onions, mushrooms, pepper & beef - A bit of a mess to clean up after without a large kitchen sink, but very good.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ, Day 4

Gathering around the Barbecue

Thursday, February 6, 2014, Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ, Day 4 - 0 miles 4,933.9 For the Trip

Today is the first "official" day of the gathering, and the trailers rolled in all day long. I didn't do a count, but I'm sure we are over 50 trailers. Two Escape 19's were scheduled to arrive today, but I haven't seen them.

While talking about run flat tires, one of the group looking at my non run flat tires noticed a nail head sticking out of one of my front tires. Must have been fairly recent since it isn't worn down all that much. I stopped by the tire store in Quartzite & they patched the tire for $18.00. That was the big trip of the day. Back at the camping area I met a bunch of people I've met at other rallies, and many more that I've only known through their posts at the many different fiberglass forums.

The day was one of the coolest so far - little sun, and little gain on the batteries. I'm down from full by 15 amp hours - still plenty left in the batteries, but I'd rather completely fill them each day. Both the trailer meter & the solar controller shows the batteries at 100%, but the TriMetric battery monitor is far more accurate as to how much comes out & goes into the batteries because it measures the actual amperage going in & out, while the others measure voltage, which isn't as accurate.

Dinner was a New York strip steak, and the rest of the green beans.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ,Day 3

More Trailers at Our End of the Area
Wednesday, February 5, 2014, Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ,Day 3 - 0 miles 4,933.9 For the Trip

Another beautiful day at Quartzite. It started out a little cool, but warmed up by noon. Didn't use as many amp hours, but still have a deficit of 11 amp hours as of 6:00PM. I'd be just about even if I hadn't make a pot of coffee with the electric drip coffee maker.

I drove down to the campground host for my permit. He has been off duty for the last two days, so my 14 days is now actually 16, although I still plan to leave on Monday. Lots more trailers have pulled in - we now have a couple more Bigfoots, Scamps, A truck camper, and, of course, many Casitas. Still only 3 Escapes, all 17's.

I took a couple of photos of some of the folding solar panels that many are using to recharge batteries. Lots of different types. I've thought of adding one to speed up battery recovery, particularly in winter when the sun angle is low (it is easy to properly tilt portable panels), but storage is always a problem, particularly on the days I don't need to put them out. A truck looks better & better as a tow vehicle! I also included a photo of my roll-up table. Very handy for a small trailer - it rolls into a 3' x4"x4" package.

Also had a chance to do some Barbeque's Sauce sampling. An interesting grill set up to add smoke. Photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was grilled chicken thighs & green beans, and the last ice cream cone (sigh).

Until tomorrow -

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ,Day 2

A Beat Up Sonora Cactus
Tuesday, February 4, 2014, Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ,Day 2 - 0 miles 4,933.9 For the Trip

Well, the gas furnace works well. It got down to 36°F last night, and with the thermostat set to 62°F, it ran off & on throughout the night. Although I kept it close to 70° with the electric heater when I had hookups, I want to try to save battery power by keeping it a bit lower when running the furnace. While not of interest to everyone, for those who are, overall, by morning I was down 18 amp hrs, and with recharging the laptop & iPad, listening to the radio using my XM Radio tuner, and the general electrical usage, that's not so bad. The day was partially cloudy, and the winter sun is still fairly low in the sky, so I didn't get all 18 amp hours back - right now at 5:30 I'm down 4 amp hrs. Since I have 232 amp hours in the batteries (although it is best to only use half of that), I'm doing OK.

I took a few photos of some interesting cactus & trees on my walk, as well as of the trailer & my new neighbor. Just now another Escape 17 pulled in - there are now three of us. Not keeping up with the Casitas, but we are tied with the Scamps! More photos on today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a salad & a turkey burger.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ

Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ
Monday, February 3, 2014, Dome Rock, Quartzite, AZ - 55.1 miles 4,933.9 For the Trip

Lots of packing, trying to remember where I stored stuff that has been out for a month, etc. After packing & hooking up, filling the fresh water tank, it was time for a run to the dump station. I managed to go an entire month without dumping, however that is in a park with bathrooms & showers (although no kitchen sink for doing dishes). The black tank was near full, while the gray was a little over 1/2.

Overall, I liked La Paz County Park. Site 20 was a great location, and while they didn't have full hookups, water & electric is enough for me. While it was a good location, with shopping at a Safeway & Walmart as well as a laundry, hardware stores, barber shops, etc only 9 miles away, I really prefer moving around a bit more. While I got a lot of reading done, I would rather be spending my time exploring new places. Since the Cardiologist I saw in Parker asked me to stay in the area for a month to see if I had another episode of A-Fib (I haven't), I stayed, but was ready to move on.

A short drive to Quartzite & the Dome Rock area. There is a Fiberglass trailer rally here starting on Thursday, but at least 10 trailers have got a jump on the date. Lots of room, although it seems I parked close to a preferred spot for a Scamp 5th Wheel - it is now right next to me. Completely dry camping - no bathrooms, water or electricity available, not even dumpsters for your trash. On the other hand, the price is right - free for 14 days. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a Chicken Salad.

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, February 2, 2014

La Paz County Park, AZ, Day 28

Sunday, February 2, 2014, La Paz County Park, AZ, Day 28 - 0 miles 4,878.8 For the Trip

Another day without any photographs. Last night was cool at 41°F, but not the coldest of the trip. It only warmed up to the low 60's today - generally cooler weather is predicted for the early part of the week, with warming next weekend. I did laundry, defrosted the refrigerator, and bought the last of the supplies for the rest of the week. I also packed up the hummingbird feeder, which really annoyed a couple of hummingbirds!

Dinner was a frozen pizza (well, it wasn't frozen when I are it!)

By the way, while I haven't been adding non towing mileage in the page heading since I'm trying to only post towing miles, I did keep track - over the month I've been here at La Paz, I've driven 500 miles.

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, February 1, 2014

La Paz County Park, AZ, Day 27

La Paz Swap Meet

Saturday, February 1, 2014, La Paz County Park, AZ, Day 27 - 0 miles 4,878.8 For the Trip

Boy, I shouldn't have complained about yesterday. While the clouds went away, today was even cooler than yesterday, and the wind was the strongest of the trip. The trailer was shaking! It only got up to 65°F today and at 5:00 was already down to 60°. I know that those back east are laughing at me for complaining, but you get used to 75°! At least the wind has died down to a dull roar.

I went to the last (for me) Saturday morning Swap Meet. Because of the cold weather & wind, less than 1/2 the usual vendors were there, and most only set up a few things rather than having the wind blow their stuff away. I bought a couple of books, and my last bag of kettle corn. I did take a few photos for those that have never seen one - we don't have them in the Oswego area, although I don't know why they call it a swap meet since the only swapping that takes place is your money for their merchandise.

After getting back to the trailer I updated my collection of RV Blogs. Only had a few to add since I don't tend to find as many new ones while traveling. I also got the last of the information I needed to do my taxes by having a friend stop by the house & photograph my SS 1099R & interest information. I'll probably do the taxes tomorrow.

Dinner was a pork chop, fresh snap peas & peaches.

Until tomorrow -