Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Day 121, Tuesday, February 28, 2017, Valley of Fire State Park, NV

Site 39, Valley of Fire State Park, NV
Tuesday, February 28, 2017, Valley of Fire State Park, NV, 181 Miles, 4,899.3 Miles For the Trip

I woke up early, decided not to go back to sleep, and, after packing up the trailer, with a quick stop at the dump station, headed out of Texas Springs at 7:30AM. I did take a photo of the crescent moon & Venus last night. A bit noisy, but I like the image. The photo is at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Most of the drive was on two lane roads, but I did end up going through Las Vegas on I 15, an experience I don't recommend. Lots of traffic & too many right lanes ending in turn only lanes.

After a stop for gas, a Walmart & Albertson's for supplies, and a coffee break, I pulled into Valley of Fire campground around 12:00. There were only 2 electric sites left, and while I could have done a non hookup site, I really wanted to have electricity. I'm in site 39, one of the middle sites that isn't as nice as the ones along the edges of the campground that are backed by the red rocks. In any case, I'm here until Sunday. Site 39 is a water & electric site for $30.00 per night. If it didn't have electricity, it would be only $20.00. Since the $10.00 park entry fee is included, it is expensive, but not outrageous.

I took a walk around the campground, and found 2 Casitas, and a couple of R-Pods (small non-fiberglass egg trailers).

The Verizon coverage is 4G LTE as long as I'm running the outside antenna & amplifier, and a very weak AT&T signal that managed to drop my phone call to an RV service department in Lake Havasu City three times before I confirmed that they had a lower right hinge for my refrigerator & would hold it until next week.

Since I have an electric site, I dug out the microwave & warmed up the left over macaroni & cheese from last night, along with the last Cheesy Chicken Chalupa. Glad to see they're gone - I didn't find them all that worth the money.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Day 120, Monday, February 27, 2017, Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA, Day 5

Stars Over Texas Springs Campground
Monday, February 27, 2017, Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA, Day 5, 0 Miles, 4,718.3 Miles For the Trip

Sorry if you are getting tired of night time photos, but when I find places dark enough for them (and there are not all that many left) I dig out the camera. These are looking north across the campground.

While I didn't set an alarm clock (what is that?), I did wake up early enough to drive out to Zabriskie Point for some sunrise photos. Again, I am including a couple of panoramas. The light was interesting, although a strong haze toned down the warmth of the rising sun. Lots more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After that it was back to the trailer to assemble today's page. I'll try to get down to Furnace Creek Ranch & their WiFi connection to post these pages a bit later.

Note - the large, full sized JPGs will have to wait until I have a better connection - the paid WiFi at Furnace Creek is too overloaded to upload them.

Day 119, Sunday, February 26, 2017, Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA, Day 4

Natural Bridge
Sunday, February 26, 2017, Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA, Day 4, 0 Miles, 4,718.3 Miles For the Trip

Lots of people left today; the campground has many empty sites as of 2:30.

After my walk around the campground & breakfast, I tried sitting outside reading, but while the sun was warm enough, the wind was strong enough to drive me inside. I made a trip to the Furnace Creek Gas Station for to refill a propane tank. I probably should have waited until I found it less expensive, but even though I can get at least a week out of the remaining tank, I hate to be running on just one. It was $16.73 for 4.7 gallons, or $356 per gallon. While I've paid a lot less, I've also paid more.

I decided to take a drive to Badwater Basin & check out some of the stops along the way. Artist's Drive is closed due to road damage from flooding, but some of the other stops are open. My first stop was to photograph the closed road to the Devil's Golf Course. While there, I saw my first Tesla. Next was a short hike to the Natural Arch, and finally, a stop at Badwater Basin.

I drove to the Dunes for some evening photos with setting sun light. OK, but very crowded; it was difficult to find untrodden dunes or frames without people. I did like the trees at the entrance to the field. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I filled the gas tank at Stovepipe Wells, then headed back to Furnace Creek. I decided dinner would be at a restaurant, and ate at the Furnace Creek Ranch Cafe. Fish & chips for $19.00, plus $6.00 for a Flat Tire Amber draft beer.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 118, Saturday, February 25, 2017, Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA, Day 3

Zabriskie Point

Saturday, February 25, 2017, Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA, Day 3, 0 Miles, 4,718.3 Miles For the Trip

Last evening I drove to Zabriskie Point for some sunset photos. As a fellow photographer suggested, it is a better location for sunrise images since the sun sets behind the view, but I did take a few photos anyway. Lots of people there enjoying the sunset. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Not too bad a night, although a bit cooler than last night - the furnace ran a couple of times during the early morning. After a walk around the campground loops, I decided to make a large breakfast. I made bacon & pancakes with the last of my New Hope Mills buttermilk pancake mix. I doubt I'll be able to find it here in the west since it is made in Auburn, NY, a small town south of Oswego. It is my favorite pancake mix - I should have brought an extra package.

After breakfast I decided to have a do-nothing day, and sat outside in the sun reading. Even though it was only 64°F, because there was little or no wind, it was comfortable. During the afternoon I decided it was time for a shower. Nothing available here at the campground, and while the park newspaper notes there are pay showers at Stovepipe Wells, I don't feel like driving all the way there just for a shower. So, time for the second shower of the trip in the trailer. I do wish there was just a bit more room so I could turn around without banging my elbows. In any case, at least there is plenty of hot water & my gray tank is still near empty.

The campground is still full. Almost as soon as someone pulls out, someone else moves in. Mostly small RVs & tents; I suspect the no generator rule keeps out the big Class A's.

After my shower it was back to the chair and sitting in the sun. Light clouds are moving in, so that may keep it warmer tonight.

Dinner was spaghetti, sausage & meatballs.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, February 24, 2017

Day 117, Friday, February 24, 2017, Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA, Day 2

Fling Knapping Demonstration
Friday, February 24, 2017, Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA, Day 2, 0 Miles, 4,718.3 Miles For the Trip

A warm night - It only went down to 50°F outside, I didn't turn on the furnace, and while it was down to 54°F in the trailer, I was fine under the blankets. It warmed up quickly once the sun came up.

My neighbors in a new Escape 21 dropped off a couple of oranges as they left to head home. After breakfast I drove to the hotel complex & checked the prices for groceries. Good thing I don't need any! I did buy a "T" shirt. The flint knapper was working outside the museum. He was there the last time i visited in 2014, and gave an interesting demonstration of the process of making knives & arrowheads from flint & obsidian. I checked out the mineral exhibits inside the museum, and the stuff outside.

After that I drove to the Mesquite Campground just to see what it was like. Lots of open sites, since Scotty's Castle is closed, and there isn't much else in the area.

After that I took a photo from the front of the hotel. The single image is OK, but the panorama includes the parking lot campground that serves as overflow for Furnace Creek Campground.

Dinner will be left over chicken flavored fried rice & a chicken Parmesan.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 116, Thursday, February 23, 2017, Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA

Star Circle Looking North
Thursday, February 23, 2017, Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA, 168.2 Miles, 4,718.3 Miles For the Trip

It was fairly dark last night (and cool, 35°F by morning) so I took a couple of star circle photos. The first one shows the formations in the background because a car went by twice (in each direction on a one way road). Still, to light them up with a flashlight would have been difficult, so I can't complain. The second one was shot aiming at Polaris, the North Star. Because it is in the center of the image, the rest of the stars appear to circle around it due to the turning of the Earth.

For those interested, the 1st image was a 20 second exposure at f; 2.8 & ISO 2500. Any longer exposure, even at 17mm starts to change from stars as dots to streaks. The first circle was a 52.5 minute exposure at f:4.5 & ISO 640 and the last one 54 minutes at f:4.5 & ISO 320. All three shot with a D800 & Nikkor 17 - 35mm lens @ 17mm. Today's photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After breakfast, I had to drive out of the park the wrong way myself. There was a backhoe set up in the middle of the road around the corner from my site. I'm glad the trailer is short enough that I could turn around in one of the sites so he didn't have to move out of the way.

I drove north on CA 14, then US 395 to CA 190 which runs through the park. I stopped for gas at Stovepipe Wells ($2.95 per gallon vs close to $4.00 here at Furnace Creek) and checked at the ranger station for conditions at the racetrack. Now I've been coming to Death Valley for years (first time in 1950) and never had a vehicle I'd be comfortable driving to the racetrack. Now that I have a truck with Kevlar tires, the Playa is flooded, so you can't see the rocks or tracks. The ranger said it may dry up by the time I'm ready to leave on Tuesday, so I'll keep checking back. For those that haven't heard of the racetrack, it is a flat area where rocks mysteriously leave trails behind them as the "move" around the Playa. No one knows why they more, but there are lots of theories...

There isn't really a bend like the image shows in the panorama below; it is distortion caused by assembling a 180° panorama without proper panning of the camera (it was handheld).

Another interesting note. I'm set up at Texas Springs campground in site 68, a dry campsite for $8.00 per night with the Senior Discount. Last time I was here there was no AT&T coverage & a strong Verizon signal. Now AT&T has 3G coverage and there is no Verizon, even with the amplifier. So, since I can only use the AT&T data on my phone, not the laptop, it may be awhile before I post anything, including the large images from yesterday.

Dinner was a grilled turkey Bubba burger & Knorr's Chicken Flavor Fried Rice.

My posts will be a bit unscheduled - the only connection I've found to the outside world is a $5.00 per hour or $12.00 per day connection at the nearby hotel.  It is fast enough to work, but too far away to connect from the campground.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Day 115, Wednesday, February 22, 2017, Red Rock Canyon State Park, CA

Wednesday, February 22, 2017, Red Rock Canyon State Park, CA, 106 Miles, 4,550.1 Miles For the Trip

While I was up early, I hide out in the trailer waiting for the day to warm up. It was 45°F at 6:30AM. I did manage to use the Jetpack to connect to my usual NPR news station in Phoenix (KJZZ) so I finally got to listen to Morning Edition. During breakfast, the door to the refrigerator fell off. The lower right hinge broke, something that happened last year at Quartzsite. I'll have to find a RV service center along my route that I can call to order one, and hold until I get there. For now, I added a bunch of washers to keep it together, and will definitely remember to use the strap when traveling!

I checked on line to see if any of the serviced sites at the Furnace Creek campground at Death Valley were available, and they were not, so I decided I'd stop at one of the prettiest parks in California, Red Rock Canyon State Park. Not too long a drive, although part of it was on a truck infested I 15. The park, like the last time I was here in 2014, is pretty near empty. There were 2 other vehicles when I arrived, now at 4:30, there are a few more, maybe 5 total.

It looks like they had a recent bad rain storm. Many of the sites are still under water, and others are very muddy. I parked in site 10, although both 19 & 24 are also very nice pull through sites, with 24 next to a standard vault toilet. I say "standard" because the one near site 10 is "open air", ie, no roof. Doesn't look like much fun in the rain, but sitting under the stars must be something else! I don't plan on finding out because it looks to be a cool night. Very windy, in fact, probably too windy to fire up the grill. I'll probably have something inside.

On the way into the campground I took a panorama of the rocks at the entrance, and after setting up the trailer, I walked around the campground taking a few photos, then headed into the trailer to get out of the wind.

I'll try to post the thumbnails of today's photos, but while there is a 3 bar Verizon 4G LTE signal, they must be using a dog sled to deliver the bits to the internet. It is so slow that even with a 2 minute upload window set in Dreamweaver, it times out on all the large images, and some of the thumbnails. I'll have to redo the uploads tomorrow, assuming that Verizon still has a good tower at Death Valley. I tried to add a photo to today's post with no success, but the thumbnails of today's photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was soup.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Day 114, Tuesday, February 21, 2017, Calico Ghost Town, CA

School House, Calico Ghost Town
Tuesday, February 21, 2017, Calico Ghost Town, CA, 121.9 Miles, 4,444.1 Miles For the Trip

While there were empty sites during yesterday's walk around the campground, by 4:00, everything was full. Someone in a van pulled into an occupied site across from me, but evidently they got along with the site owners when they arrived at 7:00 since they stayed the night.

There was an interesting camping system on the roof of the Jeep across from me. Since it looked to be a clear and warmer night, I took a few photos of the stars over the campsite, including one where I used a flashlight to illuminate the truck & trailer. Too early for good Milky Way photos, but the stars looked great!

I skipped my walk this morning & hit the road by 8:30AM. I thought about driving directly to Death Valley, but decided I would get there too late to be sure to get a site. I stopped at the Calico Ghost Town Campground, a place I stayed in 2014. Lots of the same photos. It looks like they had lots of rain - sandbags in front of many stores. Many more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I'm in site 8A, a full hookup site that I think will cost $43.00 ($35.00 plus an eight dollar reservation fee). I think, because so far I haven't been able to get them to take my money. The office is in the ghost town, about 3/4 of a mile from the campsite. The first time I tried, I could hear someone in the back of the office chatting on the phone with a friend. He stuck his head out the door after a 5 minute wait & said I'd have to come back in 45 minutes when the person who knew how to run the credit card machine would be back. I wandered around the ghost town taking a few photos, then stopped back 45 minutes later. The person was there, but informed me that she was eating her lunch & I would have to come back later. So, since the chicken fried steak I got in 2014 was one of the better one's I've eaten, I plan to hit the restaurant for dinner. I'll try to pay for my site then. Right now I'm heading for a shower, the first since leaving Anza Borrego.

I'm not sure you will see this posting today. While sitting here at the campground, after posting yesterday's page & pictures, Verizon went from 3 bars of 4G LTE service to 1 bar of 1X. I dug out the amplifier & exterior antenna & got the 1X up to 4 bars, but 1X doesn't do data. I'll try again later.

It's later, and I restarted the Jetpack and got back on 4G, so the posting went through. By the way, the showers are combined bathrooms & showers. The first two I tried would not take quarters for the shower. I ended up in the disabled bathroom. The good - a standard showerhead, the bad, feeling guilty for taking the disabled room.

Dinner was excellent, with the exception of the vegetable - two quarter ears of old, frozen corn on the cob.  And I did get to pay for my site - $35.00 with a $5.00 senior discount.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 113, Monday, February 20, 2017, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Day 5

Stars & Taillights
Monday, February 20, 2017, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Day 5, 0 Miles, 4,319.1 Miles For the Trip

I took a panorama of the sunset last night. Nothing spectacular, but at least we had one. While the night wasn't much warmer than last night (42°F), it warmed up quickly during the day. A bit windy, but lots of sunshine. I did go out around 9:00 to take a couple of star photos, but my neighbors were still up and at it. The first is interesting - someone across the road from be locked their car & the brake lights flashed during a 20 second exposure. The second didn't have any interruptions, but isn't all that interesting.  Are photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

We can now call the Sites 24 - 41 loop "Fiberglass Row". There is a Casita parked above me & a Trillium below. I met another couple of New Yorkers - it is amazing how many are here in the park. At least 3 RVs and a couple of tent campers. The closest is from about 70 miles from home near Letchworth State Park.

I did my usual walk around the campground before breakfast, and there are finally some empty sites. Lots of packing up & leaving at the end of the long weekend, although there are still new arrivals.

I spent most of the day reading. My current book is James Doss's Three Sisters. An interesting read that, like Tony Hillerman, follows the exploits of native America police; this time the Ute, rather than the Navajo, and a very different style of writing & story telling. I like both authors, having read most of what each has written.

Since I had a good day charging the batteries, (52 amp hours on the solar panel controller) dinner was a microwaved burrito & the rest of the Bush Beans.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Day 112, Sunday, February 19, 2017, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Day 4

Another Photo of Site 40, Jumbo Rocks Campground
Sunday, February 19, 2017, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Day 4, 0 Miles, 4,319.1 Miles For the Trip

The rain stopped just before sunset, and the sky cleared just in time to make for a cool night. Bright sunshine this morning, but still cool for my walk around the campground. There are a few groups packing up & heading home today, with people taking the sites as soon as they leave. The campground still has its "Full" sign up.

After breakfast I sat inside reading waiting for it to warm up enough to move outside. I did take another walk around the campground & helped an owner of a Class A RV load a motorcycle on a carrier on the back of the RV. Some lucky wanderer through the campgeound will get a nice site when he leaves in an hour or so. I also took another photo of my site since we now have blue skies behind it. While it is still cool, (in the 50's) it is warm enough to sit in the sun so I'm doing a bit of reading.

It is a little early to decide on what's for dinner, but it will either be something picked up in town while I'm here posting this or a grilled chicken patty & beans.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 111, Saturday, February 18, 2017, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Day 3

Saturday, February 18, 2017, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Day 3, 0 Miles, 4,319.1 Miles For the Trip

Well, last night's dinner was not a grilled anything - it was cold & windy enough that I stayed inside and had soup. A very cool afternoon & night, with the furnace coming on at 4:30PM. It rained most of the night, going between light & heavy. Light rain kept up most of the day. The low was 42°F this morning, and it never got above 46°F during the day. Heavy clouds with little solar charging - the peak was 6 amps, while most of the day was closer to 3. Here is hoping I'll recover at least 1/2 of what I used last night & today by evening.

Needless to say, I didn't spend much time outside today. I did take my usual morning walk in between rain showers, and on a later trip to dump a bag of garbage & recyclables, I stopped to talk with a Lazy Daze owner. I've always been impressed with the Lazy Daze Class C RVs - well designed & built. Herb & his wife Lorry & I chatted for awhile, then exchanged cards when we discovered that we "knew" each other. Turns out they are a family I've followed for close to 15 years, "watching" their kids grow up on their web page and exchanged email on suggested locations for camping. A well written & interesting collection of pages at Lolo's Extreme Cross Country RV Trips. It is always fun to meet people you feel like you know through their blogs & journals, but have never actually met.

After that it was back to the trailer for some reading inside. I finished Anne Hillerman's Spider Woman's Daughter, a continuation of Tony Hillerman's series on the Navajo Nations police force. If you haven't read any of Tony Hillerman's books and love the southwest, I suggest you give them a try. If possible, I'd read them in order. His daughter Anne has done a wonderful job of continuing the feel of the Navajo Nation & New Mexico in her first novel. I hope she continues to write.

You can tell it is a long weekend. People started looking for sites as early as 8:00AM. Very few became available, but as soon as someone moved out, someone else moved in. Many, many vehicles spent the morning & afternoon circling the loops looking for a spot. I don't know if all the other campgrounds are as packed, but Jumbo Rocks is the most popular of the 8 in the park.

While I'd like to get outside to grill dinner, if the weather keeps up with what it has been doing all day, it will be another inside meal.

I almost don't have the nerve to tell you what I had for dinner. I looked through the cans in my storage area, didn't want soup, and found one of Spaghetti O's with meatballs. No I haven't ever eaten Spaghetti O's that I can remember, although my kids may have talked us into them after listening over & over to the Oh O, Spaghetti O's jingle many years ago. In any case, I remember getting them as a free "dented can" at the Rio Grande Campground store in Big Bend, TX earlier in the trip. I have to say they don't rate high on my favorite foods!

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, February 17, 2017

Day 110, Friday, February 17, 2017, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Day 2

A California Juniper
Friday, February 17, 2017, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Day 2, 0 Miles, 4,319.1 Miles For the Trip

I had planned to take some night time photos last night, but heavy clouds made even the moon disappear. Around 4:30AM a very light rain fell for about 15 minutes. I had set the furnace at 57°F and it came on twice over night. I shut it off around 6:00AM, and the inside temperature got down to 55F before the hazy sun started to warm things up.

After a long walk around the campground, I made breakfast, eating some cereal & the last of my blueberries. On the walk a number of RVs & tenters had already left. As far as I could tell, the campground was full last night, with RVs & cars stopping at each site without a vehicle & checking the post tag to see if it was still valid. On a long weekend, the only way I've found to get a site in a state or national park is to arrive a day or two before, or very early in the morning. There were many RVs & cars that were looking for sites a dusk; by then everything, particularly the large RV sites, were taken.

After getting back to the trailer I dug out the portable solar panel. While I was only down 5 amp hours overnight, I planned to make coffee, and run the computer for awhile, so with the hazy sky, the additional power was helpful. I went from 1.8 amps to 5 with the overcast, and as high as 17 amps when the sun peaked around the clouds.

After breakfast I defrosted the refrigerator. I had put it off for a bit too long, but wanted to wait until I had cooler days so it would recover more quickly.

Other than in the trailer where there isn't any wind, it doesn't seem to be warming up very much this morning. I went for another walk around the campground with my camera to take some photos showing the typical sites and vehicles and it felt colder than during my morning walk. Again, it may be the wind - lots of fairly strong gusts. The guy next to me with a motorcycle didn't stake his tent - it is now in a tree next to his site. There is quite a variety of RV types here. Few large class A's, but just about everything else. Again, there are only a few sites that will fit a large trailer or motorhome, but lots of tent sites.

On the walk I met a guy with a nice home built teardrop. For the last couple of years he has been a stagehand. Small world! Across from me are 3 walk in tent sites, one of which is still empty.

More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I drove to 29 Palms for an internet connection, and discovered that the nearest Allstate agent was in Yucca Valley, about 19 miles west on 29 Palms Highway. Since the nearest Walmart was near by & I needed plates & batteries, I hit the trail. No problem getting my new insurance cards (or, of course, paying the bill). By the way, for the first time in all my travels, I managed to log on to a Time Warner WiFi channel.  I was expecting a cable connection to be faster than my Jetpack, but unfortunately, is was so slow it times out posting the large images; I gave up and switched to the jetpack, which worked well.

I'm only guessing what will be for dinner since it is 2:00 right now, but I need to post a couple of day's pages since there is no internet at the campground. The guess is a grilled chicken patty, and Bush baked beans.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 109, Thursday, February 16, 2017, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Site 40, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA
Thursday, February 16, 2017, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA , 146.4 Miles, 4,319.1 Miles For the Trip

I packed up the trailer, said goodbye to hookups, and headed to Joshua Tree National Park. Back through the worst frost heaves (although I can't believe they have enough frost to make them) I've seen, but this time at 25MPH, so everything stayed in place in the trailer. I arrived at Joshua Tree a little after 10:30 AM, and was told by the ranger at the entrance station that there were 15 sites at Jumbo Rocks. Since I wasn't able to get into that campground on my last stay, I went for it.

I'm glad there were 15, because only about 4 of them were suitable for the trailer. Many are single parking spaces with a walk in tent & table location. I found site 40, a notch off one of the loops that was just wide & long enough for the trailer & truck. At least the picnic table is on the correct side. With the Senior Card discount, $7.50 per night for a dry site. There are pit toilets a couple hundred yards away, but no showers. I'm here for 5 nights, leaving on Tuesday.

I wandered around the park taking lots of photos, but you won't see them (or hear from me) until I drive to a location with cell service. Using the amplifier, I see 1X Verizon service at -109db, which might work for a phone call, but won't for data. Depending on the weather, I might make a run to 29 Palms & a grocery store over the weekend. There is a spot between the park & I10 that I found last time I was here, but while close to the Cottonwood campground, it is 25 miles as the crow flies from here, and much further on the park roads. My GPS wants to take me around the park for a 124 mile drive!  Many more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a grilled Turkey Bubba Burger & peaches. Making dinner was interesting. Going from close to sea level to 4000' makes stuff in squirt bottles SQUIRT! I put about 1/2 a cup of mayo on my turkey burger before I could get it to stop. Same problem with my eye drops (although not 1/2 a cup).

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Day 108, Wednesday, February 15, 2017, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, CA, Day 3

The Palms

Wednesday, February 15, 2017, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, CA, Day 3, 0 Miles, 4,172.7 Miles For the Trip

Another early morning, but good since I decided to do the Palm Canyon Trail hike, and it is more comfortable before the sun is high. I hit the trail head at 9:00; a gentle climb for about 1.5 miles. Lots of palms at the oasis at the end of the hike. I took a bunch of photos along the way. More at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I wore my desert hiking boots, which work well on rocks. Unfortunately, after crossing the stream, I slipped on a wet rock. Banged my wrist just as it was getting better from the other day at Quartzsite. Since my good for wet rocks boots are at home, there isn't much I could do about it. I took the alternate route back to the trail head; a bit longer, but different since it followed a ridge line rather than the wash that the main route follows.

Back at the trailer I showed it and the StowAway II storage box to a couple of people wandering through the campground, took a shower (the two minutes per token is very conservative - I haven't needed to put the second one in the slot either shower, so I'll be adding a couple to the ever increasing "token" section of my travel bag) then sat outside in the shade and read.

There is one minor disaster - I'm down to one last serving of Quartzsite kettle corn. With the exception of kettle corn right out of the kettle at the swap meet in Parker in 2016, the kettle corn sold at the store across from Silly Al's is the best I've had.

Dinner will be a burrito cooked in the toaster oven.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Day 107, Tuesday, February 14, 2017, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, CA, Day 2

A Dragon at Galleta Meadows on North Borrego Road
Tuesday, February 14, 2017, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, CA, Day 2

I was up early (for me) at 7:00AM. Must be the time zone change. In any case, I took a long walk around the campground, then had breakfast. I read some forums & blogs, although I've been ruined by the fast internet speeds at Quartzsite. Here I have a strong LTE signal on both Verizon & AT&T, however both are extremely slow, with long waits between each command & the result. It took over 10 minutes to upload the photos for today's post. I put together a page for the Anza Borrego State Park that has images that I'll post at the end of my visit.

I went to the laundromat to do a couple of loads of laundry, then drove to Fredericks Ancient & Ethnic Art. Lots of metal sculptures. I picked up a couple of cards to mail to my granddaughters at the grocery store that had a photograph of a steel dragon, but didn't see it at Fredericks. While in one of the cultural stores I asked about the dragon & was given directions. There are a number of large steel sculptures along North Borrego Road. The dragon is the largest - it looks like it goes under the road with the head on one side & the tail on the other. I took a bunch of photos, more at today's LakeshoreImages page.

On the way back I stopped at the park Visitor Center to pick up a trail map & a "T" shirt. I spent the rest of the afternoon reading out in the shade. A sunny day with temperatures in the 80's.

Dinner was a "Cheesy Chicken Chalupa" (cooked in the toaster oven - I'm using it as much as possible while I have electricity) & a salad.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Day 106, Monday, February 13, 2017, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, CA

Site 5, Anza Borrego State Park, CA
Monday, February 13, 2017, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, CA, 168.8 Miles, 4,172.7 Miles For the Trip

I am now the walking wounded. During my morning walk I wasn't paying attention to the road and tripped over a rock, almost recovered, but took a dive into the gravel. I embedded tiny rocks in both hands, strained both wrists & a rib. Nothing serious, but lifting & typing is a bit painful.

After breakfast it was time to get back on the road! Most of the drive was west on I10, then south on Box Canyon Road & CA 86. CA 86 was interesting - there was a sign stating "Rough Road" a little after Salton City. While I've seen those signs before and hardly noticed the bumps, this one was serious! Some of the heaves were worst than those on the Alaskan Highway. I'm glad I had a strap on the refrigerator door. The contents of the under sink cabinet (complete with my coffee maker) ended up on the floor, along with most of the contents of the front shelf and anything else not tied down. I did see my first snow for the trip, although it was on top of mountains a long way away. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I stopped for the day at Anza Borrego State Park, the Borrego Palm Canyon Campground. I've stayed here before on a previous trip, but in the non hook up area. This time I made a reservation for 3 days back in mid January (I got the last full service site). I'm in site 5, a full hookup site for $35.67 per night. California state parks are not inexpensive! Even the showers are expensive - they use tokens; 2 2 minute tokens for $1.00. So far I've discovered 4 trailers here that were at the Quartzsite rally so it is a popular stopping location.

It took me awhile to remember how to connect the trailer - the last hookups were almost 2 months ago at the Lost Dutchman State Park near Apache Junction, AZ. Since I have real electricity, I drove to the local grocery store & bought a pot pie that I cooked in my toaster oven. Since the inverter isn't large enough (and even if it was, an hour at 1500 watts would make the batteries very unhappy) I haven't had one since an electric site, so that was dinner.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Day 103, Friday, February 10, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 10

Moonrise Over the Mountains
Friday, February 10, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 10, 0 Miles, 4,003.9 Miles For the Trip

A very warm night - 59°F for the low, and an even warmer day - 95°F at the outside thermometer on the yoke of the Escape (although I suspect it got a bit of direct sun). In any case, the warmest day I've had since Matagorda, TX.

I only took a short walk this morning, and didn't do a trailer count. Quite a few arrived during the day, however a number also left. We will have to go by the registration pages to get a fair count.

I did a little trouble shooting on a couple of trailers, showed the 17 a couple of times, and basically hung out at the trailer or around the registration table.

I'm glad I took a couple of almost full moon photos last night since we have heavy cloud cover this afternoon that will probably continue into the evening. I did take a few photos of people, and the start of the soup collection for the Saturday soup party. Everyone brings a can on non cream soup, they all get mixed together, and served to the crowd. Sounds like a disaster, but it has always been delicious!

During the afternoon I baked my ugliest blueberry pie ever. I really can't get a good handle on baking a pie in a Dutch oven - I can't use the toaster oven without electric hookups. Can't wait for the Escape 21 with a built in propane oven. In any case, I'll serve it up tomorrow at the dessert pot luck.

After that it was sitting out listening to the Ukulele Concert. Ukulele Mark does a class during the previous couple of days, then the group puts on a concert for Friday Happy Hour.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner will be a trip to the Friday fish dinner at Sweet Darlene's after the concert.

Day 104, Saturday, February 11, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 11

The Dessert Pot Luck
Saturday, February 11, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 11, 0 Miles, 4,003.9 Miles For the Trip

This morning before breakfast I walked back to the top of one of the mountains overlooking the Dome Rock camping area & took a photo this morning to show the difference between the beginning of the rally & today.

While it started out cloudy, during the ladderball game a light rain began to fall. The game finished under umbrellas, as did the start of the soup meal.

For those who haven't been, each person brings a can of soup & they are combined to make large pots. Today there was a chicken base, a beef base & any soup left over went into the "mystery" pot. I had the mystery soup and it was delicious!

I toured John's 2017 Escape 21 for some last minute checks for my build list, then hauled my blueberry pie over to the Dessert Pot Luck. Greg read the statistics for the rally - 17 Scamps, 79 Casitas, 27 Escapes, 5 Big Foots, 3 Olivers, 1 Lil Snoozy, 5 others, and 6 SOBs (Some Other Brand non fiberglass eggs). With those arriving late & leaving early, these should be close, although if anyone was here and didn't register, they won't have been counted.

Many more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

With all the dessert I ate, there won't be anything special for dinner unless I get hungry enough to snack...

Until Tomorrow

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Day 102, Thursday, February 9, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 9

Happy Hour
Thursday, February 9, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 9, 0 Miles, 4,003.9 Miles For the Trip

After a walk around the Dome Rock camping area I had an egg & Chorizo sausage burrito for breakfast, thanks to Greg, the host of the gathering. We sat around, talked, and registered a few new trailers.

I made a run to Parker to buy frozen blueberries to make a pie for Saturday's Dessert Pot Luck, and found fresh ones from Mexico on sale for under $3.00 for 11 ounces. Three are enough to make a pie so it will be fresh berries! They also had some good locking fresh strawberries from Mexico so I took a tub back to the registration table. Not as good as fresh Oswego strawberries, but not bad for the middle of February!

I walked around the three general areas where people have set up, and counted 129 trailers as of 2:30 today, although some have already left, and more came in while I was counting.

The 4:00 Happy Hour was not as crowded as the first night, probably because sitting in the sun is tough. I know those home on the east coast are in the middle of a blizzard today; here we have clear skies & temperatures in the 80's. Sorry! I hope the snow blower starts for my son...

More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a turkey sandwich & a salad.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Day 101, Wednesday, February 8, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 8

Wednesday, February 8, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 8, 0 Miles, 4,003.9 Miles For the Trip

After a short walk & breakfast, I sat outside the host trailer & chatted with the registration crew. I helped install a new shower pump on a Scamp, and lent some tools to others for repairs. Unfortunately, although I've carried a manometer around for the last 5 years, I left it home this year. Of course, someone needed one! A couple of us did some trouble shooting on a water heater. All in all, a good day for fixing things.

After lunch I walked around the area, counting trailers & shooting photos. A rough guess is there are 89 trailers here as of 2:00PM.

I listened to the 4:00 Happy Hour concert, then headed in to make dinner.

Dinner was a grilled chicken patty & the rest of the Parmesan noodles.

Until Tomorrow

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day 100, Tuesday, February 7, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 7

Happy Hour
Tuesday, February 7, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 7, 0 Miles, 4,003.9 Miles For the Trip

Another nice night and beautiful sunrise. I took a long walk before breakfast, then hung out at the registration table next door to my trailer. It was quite windy all day - we had to add rocks to weigh down the books on the free table as well as the registration forms.

After lunch I checked with Quiet Times & found my package from the grandkids arrived. I picked it up & found a treasure trove of crackers, candy, cards & even a puzzle, as well as some new photographs of the girls. Thanks all!

Back at the campsite I made a round of some of the new trailers, took some people photos, then headed back for the happy hour, complete with live music. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a chicken leg quarter & some parmesan noodles.

Until Tomorrow

Monday, February 6, 2017

Day 99, Monday, February 6, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 6

Watching the Super Bowl
Monday, February 6, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 6, 0 Miles, 4,003.9 Miles For the Trip

A very warm night - it never got below 60°F. Just after dark I wandered down to the SuperBowl gathering for a couple of photos, but didn't stay for the game.

This morning, after a long walk to the base of Dome Rock, I made pancakes & sausage for brunch, then sat outside & finished my book, and, of course, started another one.

Today is the first official day of the 10th Annual Quartzsite Gathering, at least the starting day for the "early" arrivals. Of course, there were already a number of early early arrivals, but today is the first day of registration. A bunch of us took turns handing out buttons & signing people in.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page, although they are duplicated at the 10th Annual Quartzsite Gathering page as well.

After a large, late brunch, dinner will be simple - cheese & crackers.

Until Tomorrow

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Day 98, Sunday, February 5, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 5

Getting Together
Sunday, February 5, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 5, 0 Miles, 4,003.9 Miles For the Trip

No dogs chasing me on my walk this morning, although I do admit to staying away from the Doberman's camping area. After breakfast & forum/blog reading, I headed to the laundromat to do a couple of loads, and see if I could help Mel with a problem with the wiring on his Toyota Class C. No luck with the wiring, but he did give me the rest of the firewood I left with him when I moved over to Dome Rock.

The laundromat was just about as full as I've ever seen it. Only 2 standard washing machines available, and no dryers. It must have been the time, because by the time my wash was done, there were plenty of each open. I met & chatted with a guy form the Yukon that has been driving the Alaskan Highway every year for the last 20 years. He has noticed some improvements!

Back at the campground I sat outside reading for much of the afternoon. Because clouds moved in, I was able to put a coat of wax on the south side of the trailer. I did the other side yesterday.

After that I took a walk throughout the camping area to photograph some of the new people & their trailers. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was Spaghetti & Alfredo sauce with meatballs.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Day 97, Saturday, February 4, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 4

Sharing Some Wine
Saturday, February 4, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 4, 0 Miles, 4,003.9 Miles For the Trip

I started my morning with my usual walk along the BLM roads throughout the camping area, and got chased by a Doberman. While dogs are suppose to be on a leash, this one wasn't, charged from 200' away, with the owner yelling at it to stop. It did, 10' from me. A charging Doberman is not the most pleasant experience!

I did take a few night photos last night; nothing to be proud of since there is too much moon, and the sun blockers camped next to me have a LED multi color light stick on a tower that shines over the entire area.

I spent almost the entire day sitting out reading. Another day of beautiful weather, I did get a call from my son, letting me know my Tacoma registration arrived; now I have to get it to me.

Claire, a Casita owner from Texas, invited a bunch of us over for wine. We sat around talking until dark, then headed back to the trailers.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a pair of small chicken thighs & a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, February 3, 2017

Day 96, Friday, February 3, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 3

More Hummingbird Photos!
Friday, February 3, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 3, 0 Miles, 4,003.9 Miles For the Trip

Not too cool a night. I even left the reflective panels out of all but the single pane front window. While the furnace came on a couple of times in the morning, it warmed up quickly.

I went for a walk before breakfast, and while finishing, a large toy hauler 5th wheel pulled in. I warned him that there would be a bunch of small fiberglass trailers appearing over the next week, but they are planning to leave Sunday. More are arriving throughout the day, for a total of 5-6. They did say they were a quiet group; I hope so.

Back in the trailer I used my SS1099 to finish my taxes. Unfortunately, even though my retirement 403b took out extra withholding when I took out the $ to pay for the new trailer, I had to pay this year rather than breaking even or getting a small refund. I'm doing my best to spend my kid's inheritance!

After that I spent most of the day sitting outside in the shade of the trailer. I set up the Nikon D800 with my 80 - 400mm zoom lens. It is beginning to be a favorite lens for wildlife photography, including hummingbirds. I spent much of the afternoon going between reading my book & shooting hummingbirds (with the camera, of course!) You are just going to have to look at far too many images. There are at least 4 different hummingbirds in the area that spend their day going between Anne's & my feeders.

After that I took a walk around the area taking some photos of the new arrivals. The photos from the walk & many hummingbird images are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I had a large lunch, so dinner will probably just be some cheese & crackers.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Day 95, Thursday, February 2, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 2

Anne's Escape 19
Thursday, February 2, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 2, 0 Miles, 4,003.9 Miles For the Trip

Too many clouds for good star photos last night.

I went for a walk this morning & stopped to talk with the group of Casita owners at the top of the ridge. They are leaving this morning to spend a couple of days at a campground with hookups, showers & a laundry, and will be back next week for the rally.

I'm back to making my own pot of coffee, not that I mind - fresh ground beans make better coffee that most of the restaurants or gas stations I've used.

After breakfast I read for a bit sitting out in the sun. Another warm 75°F day with light clouds & just a little wind. Rather than driving on the dirt roads behind the campground, I decided it would be a good day to head to Blythe to pick up a copy of my SSA-1099 from the Social Security office. No problems, other than the usual 1 hour wait. It would probably be longer at Parker, AZ since they only staff the office one day per week.

I also went for a haircut, and did way too much food shopping. It all fit in the cabinets, freezer, and refrigerator, and I should be good for food for the next two weeks. The only thing I will need is some frozen blueberries to use to try making a pin in my Dutch Oven. I have not been happy with the last two attempts, but I'll keep trying. They are having a "bring your favorite dessert" one of the evenings of the rally & I'd like to try one attempt before making a pie for general consumption!

After dropping stuff off at the trailer I headed into Quartzsite to dump my overflowing garbage bag. Even though I'm now at Dome Rock, which doesn't have any services, I still have my permit for the LTVA section, so I can drop off garbage, dump the tanks & get fresh water. A bit longer drive, but not much more than the local commercial service center.

I did stop by the "Big Tent", which is no longer big! Photo at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Back at the trailer I said Hi to Anne, an Escape 19 owner that keeps a blog at http://rightbrainrightlane.blogspot.com.

Dinner was a couple of Burritos, and a Caesar Salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Day 94, Wednesday, February 1, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 1

Panorama of the Mostly Empty Dome Rock Camping Area on February 1st, 2017
Wednesday, February 1, 2017, Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 1, 12.2 Miles, 4,003.9 Miles For the Trip

After coffee & breakfast, I packed up the trailer, said goodbyes to Linda & Mel, then headed to the dump station. Not too bad a line, but more than I expected. After dumping the black & gray tanks, I filled the fresh water tank & headed to Dome Rock. I decided to set up near the "Official" headquarters area so it would be easier to help with registration, etc. I used my new folding rake to remove the larger rocks form the area I'm putting down my mat, set up the portable solar panel, leveled the trailer, and lowered the stabilizers, set up & leveled my folding table, set up the hummingbird feeder & mixed a batch of "nectar", opened the front window cover, and set up the stuff inside the trailer that I have to put away to travel. All that just to move 4.5 miles! The one 5th wheel in the area is still here, although it looks like they may be packing up.

I sat outside in the shade of the trailer (it is close to 80°F and a very light wind) and read the Syracuse paper to catch up on the home town news, then Glenda and her friend John stopped by, and will probably move her Casita & his Class A over here tomorrow.

I hiked up most of the way to the top on one of the "mountains" behind the Dome Rock camping area (not Dome Rock) to take a panorama of the empty campground. While it does show how empty it is, I'm not sure the location will be good for showing the lower areas when full. I may try driving as far up one of the higher mountains as possible tomorrow to see if the angle is better. There are a bunch of "roads" that go in the general direction that look interesting. I included a photo of the rock I stood on to take the panorama so I could find it again for a shot when the campground is full.

In any case, I included the first panorama in today's photos. If you have a fast connection, you can click on the full sized version (it is 7.1MB) and see the individual trailers that are already here. Even the 8000 pixel wide version above was 2.4MB when I uploaded it. The rest of the images are on today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner will be a stir fry of the left over steak from last night.

Until Tomorrow -