Monday, November 30, 2015

La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 14

Monday, November 30, 2015, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 14, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

Another day without any pictures. I did have a project. The receptacle I added for my inverter is out of the way, enough that it is a pain to use. I planned to add another one at the face of the kitchen cabinet, however the space between the sink support & the cabinet door & drawers is just slightly too narrow for a electrical box.

I had had added a second 120V (non inverter) receptacle on the bed side of the kitchen area, rarely use it, and decided to change it over to the inverter. Like all projects in a small trailer, tight quarters, but I finally got it done. Should be easier to plug in the toaster or coffee pot when running without hookups.

That was about it for the day. I have new neighbors, parked a bit closer than I thought necessary, but that's life! I haven't met them yet, but they have NY plates on the toad.

Still too cool to spend much time outdoors. I was well below freezing last night; down to 26°F. I did try to sit out & read for a short time around 3:00 when the temperature topped out at 64°F, and it was OK until the wind picked up; I'm back in the trailer. At least the skies are clear enough to recharge the batteries.

Dinner will be a chicken paddy sandwich and the rest of the pickled beets.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, November 29, 2015

La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 13

Sunday, November 29, 2015, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 13, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

Another lazy day. Still cool, but lots of sun. I spent most of the day reading or on the computer. Read the Syracuse Sunday paper to see what is going on back in NY. No photographs today. I did spend some time on the phone talking with my son & friends back in NY. No solution to the data usage amounts from Verizon, although I found another page that tells me how much I am really using. It is now over 15GB (I have 3 days left in this billing period) and no emailed alerts at 50% or 75% from Verizon. I'm hoping it will somehow automatically reset itself with the new billing cycle, but who knows?

Dinner was a couple of cheese brats & pickled bears.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, November 28, 2015

La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 12

Saturday, November 28, 2015, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 12, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

Yesterday it was warmer both during the day & overnight at home in Oswego, NY than here in Quartzite! Doesn't seem fair! I know it will get warmer later in the week, but I'm burning lots of propane. One good thing about propane here - it is about as inexpensive as I've seen it on the trip.

Nothing happening today. The big event was defrosting the refrigerator. While it doesn't frost up as much here in the desert as in more humid areas, it was pretty bad. The fins in the area under the fans remains frost free, but the fans only cover about 1/4 of them. I should get a couple more so the entire fins are covered, but so far I haven't found the same ones I already have & I'd like them to match. They don't draw much current, but adding 3 more would add to my "parasite" load since they run all the time.

Other than that the day was spent reading. No photographs.

Not sure what dinner will be, but something simple. Well, it was simple from the cooking end of things - I went to Sweet Darlene's for their Saturday night prime rib dinner. Not bad, and very good for $15.00! I'm not sure why, but I'm eating out more here in Quartzite than on any of my trips. Inexpensive restaurants with reasonably good food?

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, November 27, 2015

La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 11

My New Neighbor
Friday, November 27, 2015, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 11, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

Another cool night, but the furnace kept the trailer livable. It didn't warm up all that much during the day - low 33°F, the high 61°F. After a walk & breakfast I went to the Hi Jolly cemetery to shoot a photo of the marker for the tomb of Hadji Ali (where Hi Jolly comes from). He was a camel driver who worked for the army before the Civil War as part of an experiment to determine if camels could be used a pack animals. The camel on top of the tomb is a tribute to Big Rd, Hi Jolly's favorite. More photos of both at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I also did some Christmas shopping since it is Black Friday (not that there seamed to be any Black Friday sales).

When I got back to the trailer I wandered down to meet a new neighbor that arrived last night. People joke about campers that bring their whole house - well, he did! It isn't quite finished (the inside is still a shell except for a working toilet & holding tank), but it is a tiny house on wheels. 13'4" tall so it fits main highway bridges, and sure attracts attention. The owner said he had people chasing him to get a closer look. I'm not sure where he is from, but he stopped in Phoenix on the way.

I did a bit or reading (in a sweatshirt & quilted vest), then cooked dinner - Rice & Orange Chicken. Looks to be another cool night - it is already down to 54°F at 6:00.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, November 26, 2015

La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 10

Thursday, November 26, 2015, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 10, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

Happy Thanksgiving! I had my turkey dinner at Sweet Darlene's in Quartzite. Far more food than I could eat, topped off with delicious pumpkin pie. On the way out I met the ladies that were at the table next to me at the Grubstake Social Club (where I waited over an hour for my fish dinner).

On the way back to the campground I stopped by the Reader's Oasis Bookstore & talked a bit with Paul Winer (in his cod piece). I don't know if he owns or manages the store, but he took my money for a couple of books. He also gets dressed to do concerts. I guess he isn't any more strange than the Naked Cowboy in Times Square! Rather than include the photo here, you will have to go to today's LakeshoreImages page.

I do need to complain about Verizon. While their data service here & in most of the places I've been to had been good to excellent, their customer support needs work. I have a 20GB per month plan and my Jetpack is suppose to show my usage. I noticed that it has not changed since I upgraded my Jetpack on November 10th. I'm also suppose to get emailed notices when I go past 10GB, 15GB, and 19GB. I know I have used more than the 2.14GB that the Jetpack shows. I went to "My Verizon" and is shows the same 2.14GB that shows on the Jetpack. When I went to the detailed data usage page it has a daily usage section that can be downloaded as a spreadsheet. That looked to be up to date, but I would need to download it every day, and since it doesn't show totals, add to the spreadsheet a simple formula to get a total. Not to hard to do - I checked, and as of Monday I was at 10.5GB. Still, I don't think I should have to do that to find my total usage, and as I said, I'm not getting the emailed alerts.

I decided to call Verizon, got through to a customer service rep almost immediately, then spent 20 minutes trying to explain the problem. When he finally caught on, he transfered me to a tech rep, who promised he understood the problem & would take care of it in 24 hours. So, today, since my Jetpack still shows 2.14GB, I went to My Verizon, and on to the detailed data page, and guess what? The daily usage list is empty! Nothing new, and the old data disappeared. An interesting solution to the problem, at least from Verizon's point of view since all I can see is the wrong amount, but it isn't the solution I wanted. Now I can't even download & process the daily amounts to find out what I used. I know it is a holiday, but it has been well over 24 hours & I haven't received the promised phone call or email. I'd be willing to bet that if I went over my alloted 20GB for the month, Verizon would be able to show me the proof that I did.

The rest of the day was spent reading. My turkey dinner (at lunchtime) was large enough that I don't think dinner will be much at all. I did get a Skype session with my daughter & grandkids.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 9

Quartzite Sunset
Wednesday, November 25, 2015, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 9, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

A bit of wind overnight, but the temperatures were so warm the furnace never came on. This morning the wind was bouncing the trailer around. I forgot what dust is like during windy conditions at Quartzite. The mountains surrounding the area disappeared. As the wind died down towards the end of the day, they slowly reappeared on the horizon.

I drove into Quartzite to refill my empty propane tank. Much cheaper here than the last fill in Texas - $17.50 in Texas vs $11.51 here for just under 5 gallons. After that I checked out a couple more junk sales, then dropped off the propane tank & headed to Blythe to see if I could get a pressure test. I did, and it is a bit higher than the last check. I'll call my NY doctor to see if he thinks I should do something about it. I won't be able to do that until at least Friday since by the time I had my test it was already after 5:00 in NY.

I tried sitting outside reading, even put on a sweatshirt with a hood to deal with the wind, but finally gave up & headed inside. I did take a couple of photos of the sunset & a panorama of the campground.  The panorama is at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a couple of cheese brats, and home style baked beans.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 8,

Another Moon & Sunset Photo
Tuesday, November 24, 2015, La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 8, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

After my walk I drove to La Posa South to check for a new location. It is funny how you get attached to an area. I found a location that looks good, is closer to the bathroom, water & dump stations, but I'm reluctant to move. I'll think about it tomorrow. I did take a late photo of last night's sunset with a bit of color on the horizon.

After breakfast I drove to a book store & met the naked man. Evidently, he is a Quartzite fixture. So tanned you can't tell if it is his skin or a body suit, but it looks like all he is wearing is a cod piece. I didn't get a photo; maybe next time. After that it was off to the two local medical facilities to see if I could get a eye pressure test. I have glaucoma, and my NY doctor suggested I get a pressure test about now to be sure the eye drops are doing their thing. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be anyone in Quartzite that can do the test, so it is either off to Parker or Blythe. I may try Blythe since I haven't been there yet.

I spent the rest of the day reading. This is the first day since I arrived in Quartzite with clouds. They got heavier as the day went on. The solar panels fully recharged the batteries but at dusk the clouds covered most of the sky. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Dinner was a Turkey Bubba Burger & snap peas.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, November 23, 2015

La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 7

Next Door Fenceposts
Monday, November 23, 2015, La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 7, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

Well, one week down, the rest of the winter to go. By the way, the solar panels have been doing a good job of keeping up with my usage. I'm usually going into the night with either full batteries, or down by a couple of amp ours if I worked on the computer after the sun gets low enough to stop charging (like now). By morning, I'm usually down by 14 - 20 amp hours, depending on how cold it was, how long I listened to the radio & read. If I toast a muffin or make a pot of coffee, that eats another 6-8 amp hours, after which the solar panels & sun put it all back even though I'm on the computer several times a day, and listening to the radio (usually an internet station of the iPhone - thank goodness for unlimited data). I haven't gone through a heavy clouded day yet; I expect that will leave me with a deficit.

After breakfast I went to the laundromat & did two loads of clothes, and had a $7.00 shower. Far more expensive than campground showers, although the do supply soap. shampoo, a towel & washcloth. Still, I will more often stick to sponge baths, or, short showers in the trailer.

Since it was lunch time by the time I finished my laundry, I went to Silly Al's for a small pizza. The place has a reputation for good pizza, and mine was excellent. I do wish they had a white pizza, my favorite, but they don't seem to be popular in the West.

After lunch it was back to the trailer to put away clothes, make the bed, and general housekeeping. I read for a bit (currently T. C. Boyle's Tortilla Curtain), then snacked for dinner (I had a "mini" pizza for lunch that is quite a bit bigger than Pizza Hut's individual pan pizza and quite filling).

I did take a couple of photos as the moon rose, both yesterday & today, as well as an interesting group of fence posts next to my location. Can you tell I'm getting bored? The moonrise photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, November 22, 2015

La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 6

Sunday, November 22, 2015, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 6, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

The big excitement for today was a drive to Parker (about 45 miles each way north on AZ 95) to pick up some aspirin and other supplies at Walmart & Safeway. It has been a couple of years since I've been to Parker - it hasn't changed.

After that it was back to Quartzite & doing a bit or reading. I didn't move; probably won't tomorrow - I need to do laundry, and since the laundromat has showers, I'll probably do that as well. I could shower in the trailer, but it is awfully small, and I have limited tanks, both fresh water & gray (where the shower drains to).

Dinner was cheese & crackers - I had a big, late lunch.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, November 21, 2015

La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 5

Saturday, November 21, 2015, La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 5, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

Another quiet day without any photographs. After my walk I ate breakfast, then read for a bit. For a break I drove around the 4 sections of the campground to pick out a new location. Where I am is OK, but there is quite a bit or road noise from I 10. The La Posa South is quieter, is where water & the dump stations are located, and even has bathrooms (well pit toilets, but very clean pit toilets). I will probably move tomorrow or Monday.

Dinner was a couple of burritos cooked in my Dutch Oven. I have a Volcano Grill, which has a propane option. I used it for the first time to bake something. I'm not too impressed with the propane option - it is almost impossible to keep the temperature under 400°F. The gas valve on the regulator has so much back lash that running a low flame is tough. I finally had to crack open the lid on the Dutch Oven to keep the temperature at 350F.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, November 20, 2015

La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 4

One of Today's Hummingbird Photos
Friday, November 20, 2015, La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 4, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

I went for my usual 2 mile walk this morning wearing the wrong shoes - open toed sandals. I had to stop multiple times to dig pebbles out from under my feet. After the walk I made a large breakfast - pancakes & bacon.

I spent the rest of the day doing nothing, which, I have to admit, I'm slowly adjusting to. I did take a few more hummingbird photos just so I'd have something to add to today's web page.

Since I had a big breakfast, I skipped lunch & decided to go out for dinner. The Grubstake Bar & Grill north of I10 on AZ 95 was recommended to me for their fish & chips, so I went there for dinner. A long wait - over an hour after ordering, but the fish & chips were pretty good. Nothing like the fresh halibut I had in Alaska, but worth the wait. While I waited for my food I met & talked with three ladies traveling in RVs that also like to stay at the LTVAs.  They were wondering if there is Sprint cell coverage at the Imperial Dam LTVA.  I had good Verizon & poor AT&T when I was there in 2014. Anyone know?  If so, let me know & I'll let them know if I see them again.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, November 19, 2015

La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 3

Another Hummingbird
Thursday, November 19, 2015, La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 3, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

Each day is getting a bit warmer, although the nights are still getting down to the low 40s. I've set the furnace for 56°F and it comes on around midnight, then cycles throughout the night until around 8:00AM.

I drove into Quartzite to check out some of the flea markets. It is amazing the stuff that is for sale. Outdated food, tools of questionable manufacturer with trade names that look like national brands but aren't, rocks & beads of all types and all price ranges. I had a couple of enchiladas at the Stagecoach restaurant for lunch. Not bad, but I think I will try some of the other places in town just to get some variety.

After that it was back to the trailer & doing some reading. I watched the hummingbirds, but didn't get out the camera - no photos today so I used another of the hummingbird photos from yesterday.

Dinner was a grilled chicken thigh sandwich & a southwest salad (partially frozen - my refrigerator is set a bit high for the cold nights, but too low for the 80°F peak temperature in the trailer. I should get in the habit of changing the setting in the mornings, but the vegetables seem to be the only thing that freeze.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 2

A Hummingbird at the Feeder
Wednesday, November 18, 2015, La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, Day 2, 0 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

While I will keep up daily posts, I suspect they will get a bit boring since I'm not doing any traveling for awhile, and there isn't much happening here at Quartzite. I did make a run to the grocery store to buy some oatmeal cookies & an orange. When I got back, my neighbor brought over a bag of oranges - she said she had to buy a big bag, and couldn't eat them all before they went bad, so she was giving them to the neighbors.

I set out the hummingbird feeder. While I have set it up a couple of times on the trip, I've had no luck until today with seeing any. There are at least three here in the area, and while I've see all three at once, I have only be able to photograph them one at a time. I also included a photo of the Casita parked up the way from my site. The rest of the photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

There are quite a few RVs here; more than I would have expected, although nothing like it will be in the January RV show.

Dinner will be spaghetti & meatballs.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

La Posa West LTVA, Quartzite, AZ

La Posa West LTVA Campsite, Quartzite, AZ
Tuesday, November 17, 2015, La Posa LTVA, Quartzite, AZ, 122.1 Miles, 3,585.9 Miles for the Trip

Almost all the drive today was on I 10. I filled an almost empty trailer propane tank as well as my 10 lb stove propane tank on the way out of the campground, and stopped at a Safeway to pick up some water, and a couple of frozen burritos. I jumped my camping average cost ($19.34 before the pass & $23.96 after, but a bunch of $0.00 nights after that should bring it back down) by purchasing a season pass to the Long Term Visitors Area - $180.00 for the season (7 months September 15 - April 15).

While I'm currently set up in the La Posa West LTVA, the pass is good for a bunch of BLM campgrounds in Arizona & California, and I do plan on spending some time in at least Senator wash at Imperial Dam.  All dry camping, but most of the LTVAs have Dumpsters, many have dump stations, and a few have water & restrooms. There are no "sites", just open reasonably flat areas in the desert to park your trailer.

I chose my site so that the afternoon sun would hit the driver's side of the trailer, keeping the refrigerator cooler. The solar panels will be getting light from the side, but since each of them slopes a different way, front or back sunlight probably wouldn't be any better. We will see if the two panels can keep up with my use. If not, I can dig out my portable panel which can be aimed directly at the sun.

The plan is to use the trailer just like I would in a serviced campground (obviously without my electric heater). I have a 12V power supply for my computer & most of my various battery chargers; I can use the inverter to make 120V AC for anything else. The biggest 12V load will be the furnace, and the biggest 120V will be making coffee in the morning. If the solar panels keep up, great. If not, I'll modify my usage. I may not be using the radio all that much - I do remember from my last stay at Quartzite that most of the FM stations are either country music or religious, neither of which I prefer. I do have a good Verizon & AT&T signal, so I should be able to use my unlimited data on my iPhone to listen to my favorite stations. Speaking (well typing) of Verizon, I like my new Jetpack, however I don't know if it is the Jetpack or the fact that it is new, but it hasn't updated my data usage since 11/10.  Makes it difficult to keep within my data allocation...

There are quite a few RVs here & in the other Quartzite LTVAs. There is a Casita in the general area I'm in, but that is the only fiberglass trailer I've seen so far.

While it is warmer than Goodyear (which started out at 37°F this morning) it is quite windy. No clouds, so the sun is nice & warm. After setting up the trailer, I sat out & read a bit, walked around the campground, and did little else.

Dinner will be a grilled chicken sandwich & a peach cup, with ice cream for desert.

Until Tomorrow -

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Destiny Phoenix RV Resort, Goodyear, AZ, Day 2

Monday, November 16, 2015, Destiny Phoenix RV Resort, Goodyear, AZ, Day 2, 0 Miles, 3,464.8 Miles for the Trip

I don't know what the traffic is like closer to the city, but the Phoenix traffic on I 10 between Goodyear & Avondale (about 12 miles) is almost like upstate NY. I left 45 minutes to make the drive & did it in 12. All the icons lighting up on the dash were caused by a failed O2 sensor. I almost wish it was something with the sensors for the wheels - $378.90 plus tax to replace the Bank 1 O2 Sensor. Since I was within 400 miles of my next oil change, I got that as well. Didn't get out of the place until 1:00, but all the lights are back to normal & I'm good for another 5000 miles. While I don't like paying to fix the RAV4, I have to admit it has only had 2 repairs since I purchased it. Everything else has been normal maintenance or normal wear items. Much better than my last three Chrysler minivans!

It is too cool with the wind (58°F) to sit outside, so I read both my current book (1491, which is a history of the Americas before Columbus) and some forums on the Internet for awhile in the trailer. Since I'm heading for some dry camping, I also charged my drill & hammer drill.

I picked up a few supplies at Bashas grocery store, as well as some baked chicken & macaroni & cheese for dinner. No pictures for the day.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Destiny Phoenix RV Resort, Goodyear, AZ,

Site 263, Destiny Phoenix RV Resort
Sunday, November 15, 2015, Destiny Phoenix RV Resort, Goodyear, AZ, 85.8 Miles, 3,464.8 Miles for the Trip

A light rain last night & this morning, but it took a break while broke camp & I hooked up the trailer. I've had a change of plans - rather than heading directly to either Yuma or Quartzite, I'm in Goodyear, about 11 miles from the nearest Toyota dealer. I decided to get what ever is lighting up the 4 wheel drive & anti skid icons fixed before I end up in the middle of nowhere. I have a 9:00AM appointment tomorrow at Avondale Toyota. Hope it is something simple & they have the parts. Destiny Phoenix is expensive - $44.42 with a Good Sam discount. Full hookups; I'm in site 263. I have my own orange tree (not ripe yet) and a picnic table, however I doubt I'll be able to use the table - it is raining again. No photos other than the site photo.

It is still raining off & on, with predictions for more tonight, and fairly cool; currently 59°F. I made a run between rain bursts to the activities room where they have a large paperback & hard cover book library. I traded a couple of books; I'm now completely out of "read" books...

Dinner was a couple of burritos cooked in the trailer during the rain.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Shadow Ridge RV Resort, Ajo, AZ, Day 2

Ajo Mountain Drive & an Organ Pipe Cactus
Saturday, November 14, 2015, Shadow Ridge RV Resort, Ajo, AZ, Day 2, 0 Miles, 3,378 Miles for the Trip

I went for a walk this morning & stopped for breakfast at Marcela's Cafe & Bakery for breakfast. Pretty good, with excellent sourdough toast.

The rest of the day was spent doing very little. I did make a run to the IGA for a couple of things, but most of it was spent reading and moving in & out of the sun, trying to keep an even temperature. The sun was too warm, and the shadows too cool. Still much better than back in Oswego this time of year!

No photographs for the day, so I used one from yesterday. Dinner was another trip to Marcela's Cafe & Bakery. I had the special, fried chicken, macaroni salad & fries. The macaroni salad is the first one I've had that had corn in it, which was unusual, but pretty good. Unfortunately, the fried chicken was just about the worst I've had; dry & overcooked.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, November 13, 2015

Shadow Ridge RV Resort, Ajo, AZ & Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Organ Pipe Cactus at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Friday, November 13, 2015, Shadow Ridge RV Resort, Ajo, AZ, 125.2 Miles, 3,378 Miles for the Trip

I stayed up until 11:00 taking a few more star photos, although this isn't the greatest place I've been to do them. My favorites are Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, and Kodachrome Valley State Park in Utah. In any case, I posted a couple of photos, including a view of I 10 from my site.

I'm at the Shadow Ridge RV Resort in Ajo, AZ, site 45, a full hookup, including cable for $24.00 per night. While fairly tight to your neighbor, this time of year there are not many neighbors. I have empty sites next to & behind me. Typical of southwest commercial snowbird parks, older, but the staff was very nice, and the grounds, bathrooms, etc are spotless. They have a huge library/book exchange. I traded all my "read" books for new ones so I'm good for awhile.

After setting up the trailer I headed south to visit Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The monument is right on the US/Mexico border and has all kinds of warnings about smuggling, etc. They have a campground, but I elected to stay in Ajo. I stopped in the Visitor Center, bought a Starry Starry Night Tour "T" shirt. On the back it lists 34 National Parks & Monuments that are participating in the "Rediscover the Night" program. After that I drove the Ajo Mountain Drive, a 21 mile dirt & gravel road through fields of cactus. I took a bunch of photos, and rattled the RAV4's suspension enough that I believe I killed one of the anti skid sensors. I have 4 wheel drive & anti skid warning lights on, and Cruise Control no longer works. Fixing it will have to wait until I find a Toyota dealer...

Night photos & more of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Since I had another big lunch (another McDonald's Buttermilk Chicken sandwich & fries - Better than the last one, but not as good as the first) dinner was simple - a ham & cheese sandwich with a hand full of snap peas.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Picacho Peak State Park, AZ, Day 2

Clouds Over Picacho Peak State Park
Thursday, November 12, 2015, Picacho Peak State Park, AZ, Day 2, 0 Miles, 3,252.8 Miles for the Trip

While it gets fairly dark to the South, the lights from I 10, Phoenix, and maybe even I 8 light up the horizon looking North. So, I did get a bit of the Milky Way over the trailer, but the star circle, which works best when the North Star is in the center, didn't work all that well. I gave up around 12:00 and went to bed. The star photos and more cloud & sunset photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I took a walk around both campground loops before breakfast, then spent most of the day doing nothing. I did finish The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov, a very interesting Sci Fi written in the 70's, and started The Harder They Come by Michael Thelwell.

While warmer than yesterday, thin clouds cut the warming of the sun a bit making it great to sit outdoors. The clouds did make for more interesting photos than yesterday. I met a couple from the Fingerlakes (in NY) that will be traveling to many of the same places I planning to visit, so I will probably run into them again.

Dinner was spaghetti & meatballs.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Picacho Peak State Park, AZ

My Site & Picacho Peak
Wednesday, November 11, 2015, Picacho Peak State Park, AZ, 40.1 Miles, 3,252.8 Miles for the Trip

A short trip with a couple of stops on the way. First, the Post Office to mail the rebate for my new Jetpack. No one there? Aha, it's Veteran's Day! I should know better since I am one, but I and a few others wandering around the building, forgot.

I did better at Safeway. I even found Turkey Bubba Burgers. I tossed the dry Jennie-O burgers since there wasn't room enough in the freezer for both. I also picked up some other stuff since I don't expect to find a large supermarket for awhile.

I'm in site A9 for 2 nights at Picacho Peak State Park, an electric only site for the usual $25.00 per night. A great view of both Picacho Peak & the valley overlooking I 10 & an active railroad. Both are far enough from the campground (at least my section) that you can barely hear either. I hope the sky will be clear tonight since I have a pretty open view of the stars. I took a couple of photos of the view from my site that are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a juicy Turkey Bubba Burger, saffron rice & snap peas.

Until Next Time -

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Catalina State Park, AZ, Day 3

Sunset Over the Campground
Monday, November 9, 2015, Catalina State Park, AZ, Day 3, 0 Miles, 3212.7 Miles for the Trip

Today was housekeeping day. I started out with two loads of laundry, then picked up my camera with a shiny, clean sensor (for $45.00) and took my old Jetpack to Verizon for an upgrade. The Pantech MHS291L I got with the Millenicom service a couple of years ago worked well, however had one problem - the battery swelled enough to pop the back cover off the unit. After noticing that my 3rd battery was starting to do the same, I decided to replace it.

Since Verizon drove Millenicom out of business, and offered users a fairly good deal (20GB for $100.00 per month (actual bill is for $100.07), I went to a Verizon store to get a replacement. The Netgear AC791L is one of there latest modems, with many advantages over the Pantech, including the ability to actually tell me how much data I've used & a 24 hour stand by battery. While the Pantech could also tell me the amount of data left, it rarely worked. I was assured that I would keep my current plan with the upgrade, and was able to get a reduced price by signing up for a 2 year contract. They even told me I could change to one of their "family" plans without any problem. Let's hope that all that is true!

After that I drove back to the campground, configured the new Jetpack, took a shower, and read for a bit. A pretty sunset against the mountains. If you look closely at today's photo, you can see another Escape 17 hidden behind the tree. A couple from Vancouver, BC traveling in an older Escape.

Dinner is cooking as I type - a couple of chicken burritos.

Until Next Time -

Monday, November 9, 2015

Catalina State Park, AZ, Day 2

The Catalina Mountains
Monday, November 9, 2015, Catalina State Park, AZ, Day 2, 0 Miles, 3212.7 Miles for the Trip

I started the day with a 45 minute walk around the campground. Other than pop ups, I'm the smallest trailer here. After breakfast I drove to Tucson Camera Repair to drop off my D800 to have the sensor cleaned. I had a number of small oil spots that showed up when ever I shot at under f: 16, as well as a small streak. I haven't had much luck cleaning it myself - I manage to do OK on the D700, but the smaller pixels on the D800 are tough. I went for the less expensive overnight cleaning so I'll pick it up tomorrow.

That was about it for the day. I did stop at Whole Foods on the way back to the campground. They do have some different & interesting food; I tried to pick up some crackers that I had at my daughter Karin's, however I never found them.

The rest of the day was spent catching up reading forums, web pages, and reading. Finished From a Buick 8, not one of Stephen King's best. I took a break to take a panorama of the Catalina Mountains that form a backdrop for the campground.

Dinner was a grilled chicken sandwich & a Knorr's Alfredo Side. Why is it they insist on too much water & milk to make their rice & pasta sides? It might be that microwaving eats up more liquid, but if you cook them on stove top, you can cut out 1/4 cup of liquid and still end up with soup.

Until Next Time -

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Catalina State Park, AZ

A Non Electric Site at City of Rocks State Park, NM
Sunday, November 8, 2015, Catalina State Park, AZ, 256 Miles, 3212.7 Miles for the Trip

I got an early start to the day, packed up & drove out of the park round 8:30. Most of the drive to Tucson was on I10. Boring, but great on gas mileage. As I pulled into the campground I was at 18.3MPG. No headwind & dropping 2000' helped. I even did better towing the trailer than the trip to Gila Cliff Dwellers with just the RAV4 - that was around 17MPG.

I'm in site B35 for three days. Arizona is going to kill my campground costs. I was at an average of $15.87 at the end of my stays in New Mexico. Arizona is one of the more expensive states (although well below California & Washington). My water & electric site is $25.00 per night. A great view out the front window of the mountains overlooking the campground. A site photo is at today's LakeshoreImages page.

It is much warmer here than in City of Rocks - around 82°F this afternoon. Speaking of City of Rocks, I took a photo of one of the non-hookup sites on my way out of the park so you can see how nice they are.

I sat outside & read for awhile, talked with my daughter Karin & grandkids on Skype, and made a late day run to Walmart, about 1 mile from the campground. Along with some resupplies, I picked up a frozen pizza. I can't keep a 12" pizza in the freezer since it isn't deep enough, so if I buy one I have to cook it right away. No problem since I haven't had a pizza since I left home.

Until Next Time -

Saturday, November 7, 2015

City of Rocks State Park, NM, Day 3

Gila Cliff Dwellers National Monument, NM

Saturday, November 7, 2015, City of Rocks State Park, NM, Day 3, 0 Miles, 2,956.7 Miles for the Trip

A very quiet day. Last night was much warmer than the previous night, but even though the Pelonis Ceramic Disk furnace did fine keeping the trailer above 60F, I decided to attempt to fix it anyway. Not too difficult to disassemble since it was made in 1986, a time that things expected to be repaired rather than thrown away when broken. I couldn't find anything obviously wrong with it, but the tiny holes in the disks were filled with packed dust. I brushed & blew them until they were clear & reassembled the heater. Plugged it in an it drew 12.5 amps on high, so either cleaning it fixed it, or just taking it apart & putting it back together did. In any case it seems to be working at capacity.

I read (Stephen King's From a Buick 8) for much of the afternoon, then took a 2 mile walk around the campground. I thought about a shower, however the bathroom is fairly cool, and the non adjustable shower barely warm, so I'm going to wait until tomorrow at the next campground.

I got a Skype call from Anne, half of the couple I traveled to Alaska with & caught up on NY, where it is warmer than here. Something wrong with that!

No photos today, so I used another one from the Gila Cliff Dwellers visit.  Dinner will be a shrimp & lobster stuffed chicken roll & a Southwest salad.

Until Next Time -

Friday, November 6, 2015

City of Rocks State Park, NM, Day 2, & the Gila Cliff Dwellers National Monument

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, NM
Friday, November 6, 2015, City of Rocks State Park, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 2,956.7 Miles for the Trip

It did get cold overnight, down to 28°F at 6:00AM. I think my Pelonis Ceramic Disk electric heater is dying. On full, it is only drawing 7 amps - according to the chart on the back of it, full should be 1500 watts or 12.5 amps. I missed the extra heat - it was down to 58°F in the trailer. I may pick up another heater the next time I go by a hardware store or Walmart, but I can still run the propane furnace if it is too cold.

I decided to visit the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. I tried once before, but a sign stated it would take 2 hours from where I was & it closed before I'd get there, so I skipped it. I left around 9:30AM so I had plenty of time. I now understand the sign. Even though it is only 75 miles from the campground & only about 44 miles north of Silver City (where the sign was) NM 15 is an "interesting" road. Even more interesting is 15 alternate. Both have narrow winding sections with many switchbacks, steep fall offs at the side of the road, and for most of it, no center lines. Did I say narrow? I met some idiot pulling a 35' 5th wheel in the wider section of the road that would have been a disaster further along the way. I have no idea how he expected to clear some of the steep switchbacks; there is a sign at the start of the road stating no trailers over 20'. Maybe he lives on the road & isn't going past the windy parts...

I included a photo of a car that didn't make it, and the view from one of the pull offs along the road. If you go, do plan on taking your time. Much of the road is slow going, but through a beautiful forest, particularly the narrower 15 Alternate. It is like driving a paved jeep trail!

At the monument, I stopped at the visitor center, bought a "T" shirt (the second of the trip) and headed to the start of the trail to the cliff dwellings. They have volunteers at the start of the trail going over the rules, as well as volunteers at the dwellings. Very impressive. I'm always amazed at the ingenuity of the Native Americans that blended their housing so well with the natural surroundings. Most of the buildings are in caves or alcoves in the side of the mountain. Some are very large & deep, providing shelter from the wind & cold. 5 different caves with 40 rooms built inside them. Well worth the short hike to visit. I included a bunch of photos, the rest of which you can see at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I stopped at the Albertson in Silver City on the way home and picked up some food stuff. Couldn't get refrigerated fruit cups or a package of chicken burritos, although I did find some individual ones. On the other hand, I did find Alaskan Amber beer. While my favorite is Alaskan White, the amber is more popular. This is the first time I've found it on the trip.

Dinner was a chicken sausage & Bush beans.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

City of Rocks State Park, NM

City of Rocks State Park, NM
Thursday, November 5, 2015, City of Rocks State Park, NM, 39.8 Miles, 2,956.7 Miles for the Trip

A very short drive today. My first stop was to pick up my package at the Deming Post Office. $19.99 for a 2 day overnight delivery. To be honest, the package did say 2 day delivery because Deming is not on the list of overnight locations, so I can't complain, although I feel there should be a discount from the overnight price. In any case, I'm back to being able to write checks.

I've been to City of Rocks a couple of times, each planning to stay in the prettier non electric sites. As usual, I wimped out with the predicted overnight temperatures of 30F or less. I'm in site E6, also called the Saturn site. The sites in the park are given astrological names. It is a water & electric site for the usual New Mexico State Park price of $14.00 per night. If you have a New Mexico Passport pass non electric sites are free & electric only $4.00, but the pass is $225.00 for non residents, so I'd have to stay longer than I planned to make it worth buying the pass. Still, a great deal for residents of New Mexico that do lots of camping. $180.00 for the year long pass; $100.00 for seniors over 62.

It is quite cool with a bit of wind. I did sit outside, but was wearing a sweatshirt with hood. I took a couple of walks around the rocks to catch the afternoon light - very colorful if there is a good sunset, but with today's clear skies, not a lot of color. I did see a drone flying around the campground. No idea where it was being flown from, but it made a number of flights over the afternoon. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner is cooking as I type - the last of my frozen burritos. I'll have to stop for some more, maybe tomorrow in Silver City if I go to Gila Cliff Dwellers National Monument. I hope it warms up tomorrow - at 6:00PM it is 50°F and dropping fast!

Until Next Time -

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Rockhound State Park, NM, Day 3 & Chope's

Chope's Town Cafe
Wednesday, November 4, 2015, Rockhound State Park, NM, Day 3, 0 Miles, 2,916.9 Miles for the Trip

The predicted rain didn't happen overnight, but this morning it fell off and on throughout the area.

Another one of those days with no towing mileage, but over 150 on the RAV4. I almost feel like a native westerner - I drove 75 miles for lunch! I've driven past La Mesa, NM a bunch of times on my trips to & through the Southwest. It is the home of Chope's Town Cafe and Restaurant. While know for excellent Mexican food, the reason I've driven by has been to replace my "Stuff It" "T" shirt. One of my former students (a music major) after graduating Oswego with honors, made a major change in life & became an engineering major at the New Mexico State University at Las Cruces. Probably a good idea; she is now an engineer at Boeing. In any case, she sent me a "T" shirt back in the 90's that is worn out. The problem is each time I passed the La Mesa area it was either a Sunday or Monday, both of which Chope's is closed.

So, I decided it was now or never. A little over an hour drive, much of which is on I10 at 75MPH. I had chile relleno for lunch at the restaurant; three chiles, rice & beans, enough for two people & very good. I did manage to get another "T" shirt so I'm good for at least the next trip west. On the way I took a photo of the Rio Grande. Not so grand at least in the La Mesa area - just a dry river bed. I crossed it a bit further east, when I went to Bosque del Apache, and there was water in it, so I suspect most of it goes to the farms in the area. Much of the drive between Las Cruces & La Mesa was lined with pecan orchards.

On the way back I checked the tracking on my overnight package (that was mailed yesterday morning). Still in transit. It seems that overnight to the Post Office has different meanings, depending on where it is being sent. An overnight letter or package to Deming is really a 2 day mailing (although at the same price as an overnight one) that is guaranteed to arrive by 3:00PM Thursday, the 5th. Tracking says it left El Paso, TX at 7:25AM this morning, and is on its way to the final destination. Since it isn't at the Deming post office as of 3:00 today, and the two cities are only about 2 hours apart, I have to assume it is being carried by hand, although I didn't see a mail carrier running along I10 while I was driving back from La Mesa!

After driving back to Rockhound, I stopped at a sister state park, Spring Canyon, about 2 miles away. No camping, but lots of picnic sites. The sign stated there was a large herd of sheep imported from the middle east, but I didn't see any of them. A steep 17% grade driving up to the park, with a steep road inside between the picnic sites. Lots of hills/mountains surrounding the canyon.

While the rain has stopped I'm not going to be sitting outside. The wind is strong enough to rock the trailer even with the stabilizers down. Dinner will be simple since lunch was huge!

Until Next Time -

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rockhound State Park, NM, Day 2

A Cloud Over the Campground
Tuesday, November 3, 2015, Rockhound State Park, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 2,916.9 Miles for the Trip

A nice, warm night last night, 50°F. I did go for a long walk around the campground before breakfast, but that was about it for the day. Today is the rollover day for my Verizon Internet service. I used 17GB over the last 30 days. That includes downloading a map update for my Garmin, about 2.5GB.

We did have some clouds today. I took a photo just to prove that it isn't always clear blue skies. According to the radio, chances are good for rain tonight as well as tomorrow.

Dinner was a turkey burger, chips, and a cup of peaches. I never found Bubba turkey burgers, so I ended up with Jennie-O's. Not too bad, but a bit dry.

Until Next Time -

Monday, November 2, 2015

Rockhound State Park

Site 24, Rockhound State Park, NM
Monday, November 2, 2015, Rockhound State Park, NM, 86 Miles, 2,916.9 Miles for the Trip

Since I only planned to drive a short hop to Deming & Rockhound State Park, I hung around the campground until close to 10:00. I stopped in Deming at the post office to be sure they can accept a general delivery overnight envelope. I know some post offices won't, but they assured me that they can. Why? Because I discovered something I forgot to pack - extra checks. Since many campgrounds don't do credit cards, particularly those that do self registering, I needed checks, and discovered I only had 3 left. So, a friend is overnighting a book or two to cover the rest of the trip.

By the way, over the last two days of traveling, I've averaged 15.4MPG towing. I don't understand! It is going to get confusing averaging the averages together for the trip...

Almost all the reservable campsites at Rockhound are reserved. They do have a number of first come sites, and while the electric ones are now (at 5:30) filled, I had lots of choice when I got here at 12:00. Rockhound is one of my favorite New Mexico state parks. I'm not sure why, but I suspect it is the first one that really says "desert". The first time I was here my bread for a sandwich dried out before I could eat it. Another thing is the incredible light. Pure blue open skies and wonderfully colored mountains.

The new bathrooms they were building the last time I was here are finished, complete with showers. I'm in site 24 for 3 days at $14.00 per day for water & electric. Nothing too exciting, but a couple of photos of the view from my site at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After setting up I drove back to Deming (about 12 miles away) to hit Walmart for some resupplies. I picked up too much freezer stuff, so the chicken pot pie is going to be dinner tonight. I started to set up to cook it outside since it was in the 80's in the trailer, but by dinner time it cooled off enough to cook it indoors. Another interesting thing about the desert - when the sun goes down it cools off quickly!

Until Next Time -

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Leasburg State Park, NM

Desert Plants in the Sunset
Sunday, November 1, 2015, Leasburg State Park, NM, 134.3 Miles, 2,830.9 Miles for the Trip

A short travel day on NM 54, US 70 & I 25. I passed, but didn't stop at the White Sands National Monument since I stopped there on my trip in 2012. I did stop to take a photo of some interesting mountains across from the White Sands Missile range. I stopped for the day at Leasburg State Park, site 21, a water & electric site for $14.00. They have a mix of reserved sites & open ones, however the open, first come area is small, mostly non electric and there was only one site left. I drove on to the reserved area & found they have signs at each site that let you stay one night if it isn't already reserved.

Very warm this afternoon, around 85°F at 3:00. Almost ran the AC, but since I spent most of the afternoon outside, I just ran the Maxxfan. The picnic tables have shade covers which were nice to sit under & read. I took a shower around 4:30, read for a bit more, then as the late afternoon color got interesting, took some photos of the desert plants in the campground. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a grilled chicken sandwich & the rest of the broccoli.

Until Next Time -