Monday, March 19, 2018

Day 227, Monday, March 19, 2018 - McKinney COE Campground, Allatoona Lake, GA

Site 71
Monday, March 19, 2018 - McKinney COE Campground, Allatoona Lake, GA, - 200.9 Miles, 6,560 Towing Miles For the Trip

Most of the drive was on I 85, although I took the Atlanta bypass ( I 285) which was 5 lanes of packed traffic at 2:00 in the afternoon. Speaking of time, I'm back in the Eastern Time Zone, which means my east coast internet radio stations will be playing at the real time. Actually, while in Arizona, I got used to listening to a couple of my favorite "late night" programs earlier in the evening.

I'm in site 71, a water & electric site at the McKinney Corps of Engineer's campground on Allatoona Lake for the next 3 days. $14 per night with the Senior Pass. Good AT&T coverage with a -105dBm signal without an amp & fairly fast data transfers. My iPad shows 3 bars of Verizon, again, without an amplifier, and acceptable data speed.

There was some very light rain on the drive, so little that the wipers never got off the slowest intermittent setting, but the weather reports are scary, at least for a northerner. Thunderstorms, tornados, tennis ball sized hail, etc. The Atlanta NPR station says it is coming, but my radar app shows a somewhat clear slot over the campground. Right now it is showing a small round purple spot (a possible tornado indicator) heading for Carrollton, a town southeast of the campground. Not much I can do about it since I have to stop somewhere. I'll keep an eye on the radar app & head for the cement block bathrooms if it looks bad. I did leave the trailer connected to the truck to give it a bit more weight if it gets windy!

With the time zone change, I finished setting up around 3:00, so other than a quick look at the bathroom building, I haven't seen much of the campground. Lots of empty sites, although there are a few trailers in the nearby sites.

Dinner was a Marie Callender's Creamy Mushroom Chicken Pot Pie.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 226, Sunday, March 19, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 8

Sunday, March 19, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 8 - 0 Miles, 6,359.1 Towing Miles For the Trip

Just a short update for today, in fact, so boring I almost forgot to do one. Nothing much happening, other than the campground emptying out of fiberglass & a bunch of "stickies" moving in. I did hook up the trailer before the rain started. It rained most of the afternoon & early evening, and the weather report calls for rain all day tomorrow, so getting some of the packing up done ahead of time will save putting wet stuff in the truck & trailer, and getting wet myself. At least it is still warm - in the mid 60's at 11:00PM.

Dinner was an Amy's Enchilada dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Day 225, Saturday, March 17, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 7

The Group Photo
Saturday, March 17, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 7 - 0 Miles, 6,359.1 Towing Miles For the Trip

I started the day by making the second blueberry pie. While it browned better (I'm still getting used to the controls on the oven) it boiled over because the frozen blueberries thawed enough that they were too juicy. Still tasted better than the other one which was a bit underdone.

We did a group photo at 11:30. I don't think everyone came, but it was packed! If you want to see a larger version, check the Rally Photos, Page 3.

I lost one of my stainless steel pie pans at the rally. Someone probably picked it up by mistake. I'll have to find a real restaurant supply to get one for the Townsend Rally - aluminum pie pans don't cook the same as the stainless steel ones & I'm used to them.

The pot luck was delicious, as usual, and while I was lucky to get an early place in line & got a piece of my pie, there was plenty of stuff for all.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, March 16, 2018

Day 224, Friday, March 16, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 6

A Rare Photo That Includes Me!
Friday, March 16, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 6 - 0 Miles, 6,359.1 Towing Miles For the Trip

A busy morning. I made & baked my first blueberry pie for the pot luck; I'll do another one tomorrow morning. There were trailer tours for our section of the campground between 11:00 & 3:00, so I spent most of that time showing off the trailer. I headed for the showers in the large building after the tours ended. Nice & warm, both the room & water, a shower curtain, standard shower head, and a bench in the drying area. The only thing missing was a hook in the drying area, although there were plenty of them just outside the drying room through a second shower curtain.

Back at the trailer, I folded down the solar panel that I had tilted for the trailer show & tell, then grabbed a bowl & spoon, and headed to the Gumbo dinner. Excellent gumbo! I took a bunch of photos that are on today's rally page. A light rain started towards the end of the meal. Unfortunately, rain is predicted for tomorrow, the day of the group photo & the pot luck dinner. While I've done them in the rain, they are more fun when it is dry!

Dinner was gumbo.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Day 223, Thursday, March 15, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 5

Chili Night!
Thursday, March 15, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 5 - 0 Miles, 6,359.1 Towing Miles For the Trip

The coldest night so far at Gunter Hill - down to 38°F by morning. I made a short walk around this end of the campground, than microwaved a Jimmy Dean Bisket, Egg & Bacon for breakfast. Not the best in the way of a healthy breakfast, but quick & easy, and not too bad!

After reading my usual blogs & forums, I headed over to the Antioch section of the campground. They have 2 days of "Trailer Parades" where the viewers do the marching & the trailers stay in their sites. Thursday was the Antioch section's day, while our section (the Catoma campground) will be tomorrow. I took lots of photos of people & trailers, then headed back to my trailer to add them as page 2 of the rally page, & my 3:00 eye drops. After that it was off to the Prattville Winn-Dixie for pie supplies. Since I liked their fried chicken, I also got a couple of legs & thighs for dinner.

After my chicken, I headed over to the pavilion to take photos of the chili dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Day 222, Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 4

First Day of Green Eggs & Ham
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 4 - 0 Miles, 6,359.1 Towing Miles For the Trip

Not a bad morning, although I woke up with a headache. A couple of Tylenol, and my morning walk helped. I took the camera to start the usual rally webpage, but it is cold enough that most of the early photos are of trailers, not people. I did a couple more loops during the day, and as it warmed up, more people crawled out of their trailers. Lots more (about 40) photos at the first day page of the Green Eggs & Ham Rally.

I did a couple of loads of laundry at the large bathroom building. There are two washers & two dryers, but when I got there the first machine was half full of water & stuck in the fill cycle with no water flowing & pushing the different buttons didn't do anything. We had a power outage yesterday, and I thing that killed the cycles on the machine. I tried unplugging it, and the fill light went out, but it didn't start back into normal operation. Since it was only a buck to wash ($.75 in the second machine), I put some quarters in the slots and it ran through the cycles. By the time it finished, I had already done my second load in the other machine, but at least it worked for the next person. The washing machine I used didn't have all that active a spin dry, and it took two runs of the dryers to get the clothes dry. So, the laundry is done. I skipped a shower, but may give it a shot tomorrow.

Another loop of the campground for more photos, and back tp the trailer. I tilted one of the solar panels. I don't need them since the site has full hookups, but a couple of people have asked how I did it, so it is easier to show than just tell. I also left the double fold ladder out so visitors can see it as well. The official trailer tours for our loop are Friday, but I've already shown the trailer a couple of times.

By then it was dinner time, which was a microwaved Devour Chicken Enchiladas dinner. I've never had the brand before, and found it OK. Not wonderful, but good for a 5 minute meal. I also cracked my last bottle of Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir. I can still buy it here in Alabama, but at $27.00 per bottle (it was around $12.00 in Arizona), I may have to pass. Some day I'd like to try a $100.00 bottle of wine just to see if I can tell the difference, but paying twice the price for the same wine rubs me the wrong way!

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Day 221, Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 3

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 3 - 0 Miles, 6,359.1 Towing Miles For the Trip

A cool morning, but I didn't see much of it, at least here at Gunter Hill. I had an 8:00 appointment with a Montgomery dentist to fix my "Flipper", so no walk. Quite a bit of traffic, at least for an upstate New Yorker like me, but Matilda, my "Lady of the GPS" found Steineker & Dillon Family & Cosmetic Dentistry without a problem, and by 7:45AM. Nice people, both the staff & dentists, although more expensive than the Lake Havasu people. I opted to have the old flipper fixed rather than have a new one made at almost twice the price, and even then it was $176.00, vs $100.00 for the original.  A new one was quoted at $350.00. I have to admit, the repaired flipper fits better than the original. It was ready by 4:00, so I ended up making the trip between them & the campground twice.

Meanwhile, my appointments for the day were spread out enough that I would only be able to hang out in the campground for an hour of so between them. I put over 200 miles on the Tacoma just going back & forth over the last two days. I did get the Tacoma in for its 35,000 mile service (and washed) and made a stop at a Walmart Super Center for a new Timex watch. The one that is dying is many years old, but they had one that was similar, so I bought it. I prefer an expansion watchband, but this one has a strap type that looks to be difficult to exchange with my old expansion band. Almost all the digital watches seem to have these integrated plastic watchbands. I may have to stick with the band the watch came with.

So, I'm finally back the final time at the trailer at 5:00. I took a short walk & met a bunch of Green Eggs & Hamers, then headed to the trailer for dinner.

I got some email from a Canadian that follows my blog to let me know that yesterday's photos didn't load to the website, so I fixed the problem. They also let me know that there are better showers elsewhere in the campground. I discovered them during my walk yesterday. A heated building, showers with a standard shower head & dual faucets so you can choose the temperature & don't have to keep hitting the button! A bit further than I want to walk in flip flops, but the building also has a laundry, and my Escape laundry bag is full, so I might combine the shower with laundry & drive over tomorrow.

Dinner was a couple of chicken Empanadas, and half a bunch of asparagus.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, March 12, 2018

Day 220, Monday, March 12, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 2

The Gun Island Chute (Lake Next to the Campground)
Monday, March 12, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 6,359.1 Towing Miles For the Trip

Just a little light rain overnight, but much cooler this morning. 45°F when I climbed out of bed and went for a morning walk. I met some more Green Eggs & Ham attendees, then headed back to the trailer for breakfast. I looked up the local Toyota dealer, and a electronics supply, called oddly enough "Electronics Supply", put both into the GPS and headed out. No luck at the Toyota service center - they were fully booked, but I got an appointment for 1:00 tomorrow. On to the Electronics Supply, and while they had all kinds of stuff, no single pole, double throw switches. They gave me a couple of suggestions, and eventually I found a supplier that had full sized double pole, double throw toggle switches. A bit larger than the one I already have installed, but they look like they will work.

On the way back to the campground I stopped at a barber shop & got my haircut & beard trimmed. He did a good job, although I don't think buzzing the top with a #3 cutter head & the beard with a #4 can be all that difficult. Back when I had longer, curly hair, it was tough to cut so that it looked good, but now they just zip it off.

Back at the trailer I had lunch, and went for another walk, meeting more rally attendees. When I got back to the trailer, I broke my flipper! For those that don't remember, or never read my Lake Havasu City Dentist story, my "Flipper" is a temporary tooth held in by a palate piece & wire hooks to fill in the hole left by the start of an implant to replace a broken tooth. The "flipper" tooth snapped from the palate. While not really necessary, since I have to remove it to eat, I could just wait until I get back to Oswego & a real tooth (well, implant) put in. Still, I look pretty ugly with my upper front tooth missing, and not having something in the space make my speech "interesting". So, I called a couple of dentists, and have an 8:00 appointment to either fix it or get a new one. The joys of old teeth!

I took a couple photos of the lake Called a chute) next to the campground last night. I was hoping for some nice color in the sunset. A little, but nothing special. It was dead calm, so the reflections from the lake are neat.

They are issuing freeze warnings for Montgomery, so it will probably be another cool night. At least the rain has stopped & the next rain isn't predicted until the weekend.

Dinner was a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Day 219, Sunday, March 11, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL

Site 47
Sunday, March 11, 2018 - Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, AL - 135.3 Miles, 6,359.1 Towing Miles For the Trip

Lots of rain overnight. It never stopped until morning, but went from light to downpour. My site was partially flooded by morning - I had to wade to unhook the water connection. While I've had a few cases where I needed the 4 wheel drive capability of the RAV4 when towing the 17, this was the first time it was necessary with the 21. Without the front wheels engaged, I wasn't getting the trailer out of the site.

I was in no rush to leave since I planned to stop at one of the few remaining Radio Shacks in the country at Marion, AL. I hit the road at 9:00 (Daylight Savings Time remembered), but since it was a Sunday, the Radio Shack was closed. I'm looking for a couple of single pole, double throw switches to let me built a three way switch for my radio. I'm tired of crawling across the bed to turn the radio off after breakfast. The current single pole switch is near the head of the bed, making it easy to turn it off at night when I go to sleep. I'll look for a supplier here in Montgomery.

Somehow, I managed to put the wrong coordinates into my GPS for the Gunter Hill campground. I should have realized it when it told me it was 240 miles from Moundville, but I just thought "that is more than I expected", and shrugged. Once I hit Montgomery & it still told me I had 115 miles to go I knew something was wrong. I reentered the coordinates, and found it was 15 miles away, of course, back the way I came. Anyhow, I made it. I wonder where I would have ended up if I kept going? Even then, the GPS didn't know how to get into the campground. I had to follow the signs rather than Matilda! Even after saving the location of my site, the GPS can't find it.

It rained most of the way to the campground, and is still dribbling a bit at 4:30. I'm in site 47 for the entire week, including next Sunday. It is a full hookup site with a almost level concrete pad for $13.00 per night (with the 1/2 off using the Senior Pass since it is an Army Corps of Engineer's campground). The bathrooms are 3 sites away, and I'm almost at the end of the Catoma Campground. There is both AT&T & Verizon service. AT&T is -109dBm without the amp, and -99dBm with. Verizon is interesting - 103 dBm without the amplifier, but when the Jetpack is placed in the amplifier, the entire connection goes away, and a "Roaming" notification pops up on the Jetpack. A bit strange, but since my AT&T is unlimited, I'll use that unless there are speed problems.

After setting up the trailer I headed to the nearest large grocery store, a Winn -Dixie in Prattville. I thought I'd be paying full non sale prices since I don't have a Winn-Dixie card, but discovered that for some reason, my Oswego Rite Aid card works for Winn-Dixie. Of course I went with a list for 5 items, and bought a full cart load, including some good fried chicken legs and thighs as well as some greens for dinner. The "Big Find" for the visit was Entenmann's Crumb Cake Little Bites. They make a bunch of varieties, but the crumb cake version is the only one I like. For some reason, once I crosses the Mississippi heading west, the crumb cake version disappeared. This was the first place I found them, and to top it off, they were buy one, get one free.

Back at the campground, I put everything away, ate an early dinner, and started to put today's page together. On the way back the Tacoma informed me that it needed it's 35000 mile service, so I have projects for tomorrow. Along with the Tacoma, I need a haircut, and the switches for the radio.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Day 218, Saturday, March 10, 2018 - Moundville Archaeological Park, Moundsville, AL, Day 2

Duck Vessel
Saturday, March 10, 2018 - Moundville Archaeological Park, Moundsville, AL, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 6,223.8 Towing Miles For the Trip

Not too bad a night as far as trains. There were a few, including a couple in the "wee" hours, but they didn't seem to be as loud. I don't know if I slept through some of them, but probably not.

After breakfast, coffee, and reading my usual blogs & forums, I headed over to the museum. They have an amazing number of pots & vessels & other artifacts on display. I particularly liked the duck vessel carved from stone. The entire display area of the museum is very dark - I had to push the ISO on the camera & still had some overly dark images. Still, here are a few to give you an idea of what is here.

On the way out I bought a couple of postcards for the grandkids, and a present for an upcoming birthday.

I've seen Indian Tacos on menus at a couple of roadside stands, and since they were selling them here, I went for one for lunch. A piece of fried bread topped with the usual taco items. Not bad, although far more than I'm used to eating for lunch. probably won't need much in the way of dinner!

The 60% prediction for rain hasn't happened yet, although there are bouts of sun & heavy clouds. I decided it was warm enough to take a campground shower, so, the usual report:  The good - lots of water from a low volume, but regular pressure showerhead, a bench in the drying room and a shower curtain at the entrance.  The bad, only lukewarm water, only one hook, no shelves in the shower area, and no shower curtain between the shower & drying area, resulting in a very wet floor (but not the 1" of water back at Roosevelt State Park).

As expected, dinner was just some cheese & crackers. Still filled from lunch.

Until tomorrow -

Friday, March 9, 2018

Day 217, Friday, March 9, 2018 - Moundville Archaeological Park, Moundsville, AL

Friday, March 9, 2018 - Moundville Archaeological Park, Moundsville, AL - 163.4 Miles, 6,223.8 Towing Miles For the Trip

I got an extremely early start for me, and left Roosevelt State Park by 8:00. The plan was to get to the Moundville Archaeological Park as early as possible, hoping for a site. I arrived just before noon, and was told they did have a few open sites. I paid for the site for two days & a ticket for the museum & Knapping exhibit. Total - $16.00. Hard to believe. I got a senior discount on the museum & knapping ticket of $6.00, and the campsite was $5.00 per night. A water & electric site for $5.00! The receipt showed a normal price of $20.00 per night, so I'm not sure where the discount came in, but I'm not complaining.

The better sites were taken by the knappers, but I found one that I could fit the trailer, although a pretty weird orientation. All the sites in the "second" loop are really designed for small motorized RVs, ie the utilities are on the right side of the site, and towards the front. There is gravel on part of the site, the rest grass. I sorta twisted the trailer into a position where I was close to level & within the length of my power cord to the electrical hookup. No problem with the water since I have 40' of hose. Not an ideal site, but it is hard to argue with the price. The "prime" sites the knappers are in are mostly pull through with utilities in the right place for trailers, and form a loop round the bathrooms.

There is a good 4G LTE AT&T signal that is fast. I didn't check the Verizon speed, but my Jetpack shows 3 bars of 4G LTE service. 4 NPR stations, at least one of which is classical music oriented. One caveat - if you don't like the sound of train horns, head somewhere else!  There is a crossing at the entrance to the park, as well as many additional crossings within audible distance - lots of tooting!

After setting up I headed over to the knapping demonstrations. Some stuff for sale, and a group of about 5-6 knappers making spear & arrow heads. Along with the demonstrations, some offered to teach anyone interested in learning how to form points from stone. I took a bunch of photos, but didn't try my hand at it.

The park is named for the large number of mounds it contains. Built 1000 years ago, they were used to elevate important buildings. At one time, this was the site of the largest village north of Mexico, with around 10,000 inhabitants. I'll probably have more information about them after visiting the museum tomorrow.

After a visit to the knapping exhibits, I sat in the sun reading. Eventually, it was time for dinner, which was a Bubba Burger & A Knorr's Rice & Broccoli side spiked with fresh broccoli.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Day 216, Thursday, March 8, 2018 - Roosevelt State Park, Morton, MS, Day 3

Thursday, March 8, 2018 - Roosevelt State Park, Morton, MS, Day 3 - 0 Miles, 6,060.4 Towing Miles For the Trip

A little cooler overnight, down to 40°F, and a bit warmer today, up to 57°F. I'm feeling a bit guilty - not much in the way of hiking lately, so I took a long walk around the campground looking for the dumpsters, and to get some exercise. Evidently, there aren't dumpsters. I talked to a couple of guys repairing one of the underground electrical feeds to a site, and they didn't know for sure if there were any since they weren't from the area, but they noticed that people were putting their bags of garbage at the end of the site driveway. I tried it, and it worked - the bag disappeared.

I did purchase a bathroom scale the other day, and I haven't gained any weight on the trip or, for that matter, in the last 10 years, but it is one of those new fangled ones that reads your body fat, hydration, etc and at 5' 11" & 173 lbs, it told me I was fat! Of course I could forget that over the last couple of years I lost a inch of height, and tell the scale I'm still 6' tall like I was for most of my life & I'd just be OK, at least according to the book that came with it. So, if I'm going to pay attention to it, I just need to get taller. I certainly don't want to go to the trouble of loosing weight!

The main reason for the new scale is I use a bathroom scale to measure the tongue weight of the trailer, and the one I have at home only goes up to 400 pounds. That was fine for the Escape 17, which usually went around 350 pounds of tongue weight.  Since the new 21 runs closer to 460 pounds, I've been looking for a replacement, and found one at the last Walmart that went to 500 pounds, enough for the new trailer.

I have to say that was about all I did for the day. I did unhook the sewer connection during the late afternoon so I wouldn't have to do it in the morning. I can't hook up the truck since the trailer tongue is much lower than the trailer ball, so that will have to wait until morning. Cold WDH bars!

I did call what I hope will be my next stop, the Moundville Archaeological Park to see how busy they were. All sites are first come, and they have a Knap-In Event over the weekend which sounds interesting, but has already filled over half the sites. They have 5-6 left, so I'll give it a try tomorrow. If that doesn't work out, I'll try the Corps of Engineer campgrounds south of Moundville. While there are no sites available at the closest park to US 80 (Foscue Creek), it appears that here are quite a few at Forkland Park. Both ACE parks are actually closer to my route to the Green Eggs & Ham rally, but the Archaeological Park sounds interesting, so it will be my first try.

Dinner was the second batch of the chicken stew/soup. One more batch went in the freezer.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Day 215, Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - Roosevelt State Park, Morton, MS, Day 2

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - Roosevelt State Park, Morton, MS, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 6,060.4 Towing Miles For the Trip

It didn't get as cold as predicted, but I'm still glad for the electric Ceramic Disk heater. It kept the trailer at 68°F with outside temperatures going down to 43°F. I suspect it will get colder tonight - it only hit 54°F today and is already on the way down.

I checked out the bathroom, and the heater was still on, making it toasty inside. I walked back to the trailer & started dinner, which, since I remarked yesterday that I preferred chicken stew/soup to beef stew, was from scratch chicken stew. Again, no recipe for it, but I did try Anasazi dried beans as part of the mix rather than my usual choice of canned beans. The bag stated they were sweeter than other beans & cooked more quickly. I had to leave one of my favorite's out - I forgot to buy mushrooms. After browning the chicken & vegetables, I added the beans & a couple cups of chicken stock, put it on simmer, put on my sweat pants & headed for the shower.

The good - lots of hot water, both a high pressure showerhead I didn't use & a hand sprayer, which I did use. A shower curtain, and a bench for stuff. The bad - only one hook, and the drain was clogged, resulting it the water running across the bathroom floor until it hit the drain near the sinks at the other end of the room. While I could deal with showering in an inch of water, finding a place in the bathroom to get dressed was difficult. The driest part of the entire bathroom eventually ended up the shower! For an hour or two, you are going to need boots to use the toilets! Still, nice to have a long, hot shower.

A little cool heading back to the trailer with the bottoms of the sweats soaked from dragging on the floor, but the trailer was nice & warm from the stove cooking the stew/soup.

The beans (and, of course, the rest of the ingredients) were ready in about 2 hours, definitely less time than most of the other dried beans I've cooked with. They were sweet, tasted great, as did the rest of stew, which, along with one of my few remaining Alaskan Amber beers, was dinner. I do wish I had purchased a couple of bags of the Anasazi Beans since I've never seen them in the East.

Until tomorrow -

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Day 214, Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - Roosevelt State Park, Morton, MS

Site 25
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - Roosevelt State Park, Morton, MS - 239.9 Miles, 6,060.4 Towing Miles For the Trip

More boring driving east on I 20. I stopped for the next three days at Roosevelt State Park in Morton, MS. I'm in site 25 in the "Old" campground, a full hookup site for $17.12 per night (includes a Senior Discount of $8.00 per night). A concrrete pad that is close to level side to side once you backed all the way in, although I still had to unhook to get the tongue low enough to be level front to back. The bathroom is a couple of sites away, with a single, high pressure shower (but lots of heat!) That will probably be useful since the predictions is for much cooler weather, going into the low 30's overnight & only into the 50's during the next couple of days.

A strong Verizon 4G LTE signal & usable 2-3 bars of AT&T. 4 NPR radio stations, although I suspect they are all relays of the same MS Public Radio Service.

I took a few photos on a short walk around the campground that are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Since I made a stop at a Walmart, as well as two gas stations, I didn't finish setting up until a little after 3:00. Didn't do much else for the rest of the day.

Dinner was the last batch of frozen beef stew I put away at the beginning of the trip. I like the chicken version much better!

Until tomorrow -

Monday, March 5, 2018

Day 213, Monday, March 5, 2018 - Lake Bistineau State Park, Doyline, LA, Day 2

Monday, March 5, 2018 - Lake Bistineau State Park, Doyline, LA, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 5,820.5 Towing Miles For the Trip

Only minor events today. I took a shower in the campground bathroom after lunch. Not bad for state park showers - a bench, a couple of hooks & plenty of hot water, although a low volume, low pressure showerhead. A minor gripe - the temperature adjustment is very sensitive, and even a slight bump while rinsing will give you a blast of hot or cold water.

The other event was 1/4" long red ants. I'm not sure how I picked them up, but it was probably on the way back from the shower. All of a sudden, my right foot started burning. Many red ants crawling all over it. I smashed as many as I could, then checked the trailer floor & rugs, finding many more. I'm pretty sure they came in on my foot, but I'll keep checking for them since there are very few entry points in Escapes with the detachable power cord. I checked the stabilizers, cords, and tires, but didn't see any signs of them.

Later, I found the source - just behind the truck is an ant hill that I must have stood in when I put my towel on the back of the truck topper to dry. Right now I only seem to have psychological ants - I keep checking every itch for one of the little buggers, but none so far. While they could be some variety of fire ants since my foot is still burning, they are not as bad as the ones I "met" in Alabama a couple of years ago. I haven't had much experience with them, so who knows. Now I have to try to avoid them when I pack up the truck & trailer in the morning. I have to say that one advantage of the Arizona desert is the lack of bugs!

I took a photo of them, although they blend in well with the road, and are hard to see. I also photographed some snowdrops and some of the other signs of Spring.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

While it looked like rain all day, so far it has held off. heavy clouds with brief glimpses of sunshine. Time to get back to reading the latest Lee Child Jack Reacher novel - The Midnight Line on my Kindle.

The rain hit around 3:00. Not too hard, mixed with a bit of thunder & radio warnings of a tornado. Of course, the warning was by parish (Louisiana's county designations) and I have no idea what parish I'm in, but my radar app showed a line of thunderstorms with little activity over my location.

Dinner was the rest of yesterday's orange chicken.

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Day 212, Sunday, March 4, 2018 - Lake Bistineau State Park, Doyline, LA

Site 59
Sunday, March 4, 2018 - Lake Bistineau State Park, Doyline, LA - 238.7 Miles, 5,820.5 Towing Miles For the Trip

I was packed up & out of Joe Pool Lake by 9:00 this morning. Most of the drive was on I 20 across eastern Texas & western Louisiana, with two stops for gas. A wide range of prices, but Texas was less expensive.

Along the drive I saw lots of overflowing streams & ponds; my radar app shows flood watches for many of the Louisiana streams. The lake at Lake Bistineau is definitely full, with water almost up to the road in a couple of areas. Hopefully, it won't get much deeper or getting out of the campground might be a problem. There was a short bit of light rain after I set up, but now the sun is shining. Rain is predicted (80%) for tomorrow.

Speaking of the campground, it isn't very busy, just 4-5 RVs in the park. While about 20 miles from I20, the park had good reviews at RV Park Reviews, and is very quiet. I did have to wait at a railroad crossing for a long freight train to go by, but the tracks are far enough away that I don't believe there will be much in the way of train noise.

No one at the entrance station. I met the campground host while backing into a site. He called the ranger, who was at lunch, to make sure the site I picked wasn't reserved, and after setting up it was back to the entrance station to meet the ranger & register. I'm in site 59, a water & electric site a short walk from the bathrooms & laundry, for two nights at $24.60 per night. Some of the sites have wooden decks, but they are considered "Deluxe" sites & cost more. Mine is paved, no deck, has a fire ring, charcoal grill & picnic table. Level side to side, but required unhooking the trailer to level front to back.

Two bars of both Verizon & AT&T coverage without an amplifier; I didn't check the Verizon speed, but the AT&T is fast. There is WiFi at the campground office, but not at the sites. One additional perk that I haven't seen before - the laundry washers & dryers are free! While I didn't have a lot to do, I did have my flannel sheets, which almost make a full load in a standard washing machine, so I managed to find enough to fill both washers (and, dryers).

Dinner was Orange Chicken & rice.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Day 211, Saturday, March 3, 2018 - Joe Pool Lake Campground, Grand Prairie, TX, Day 3

Saturday, March 3, 2018 - Joe Pool Lake Campground, Grand Prairie, TX, Day 3 - 0 Miles, 5,581.8 Towing Miles For the Trip

Another quiet day (I do seem to be having a lot of them!) There was a little noise in the campground, both last night & during the day - a troop of cub scouts are down at the corner below my site, and make noisy trips to the bathroom. Since i didn't hear too many screams, I'll bet they didn't try the shower!

I did my usual forum & journal reading, then sat outside in the sun reading my current book - Stephan J. Cannell's The Plan. It is interesting in that it was written in 1999, but has scary parallels to the most recent presidential campaign (Well, I hope, not the mob part, but the process & describing the mood of the populous). The weather has been great. Mid 50's at night and low 70's during the day, with lots of sun. Clouds & rain are predicted for tomorrow, but maybe I'll drive out of it heading into Louisiana.

I did call both my son in Oswego, where they just had 12" of heavy, wet snow, and my friends Guido & Anne to wish her an early happy birthday (no telling what one) since I don't know if I'll have cell service tomorrow.

Late afternoon I headed for MY shower. While it is a pain to wipe down the bathroom after a shower (the Escape 21, like all Escape models, has a wet bath that becomes completely soaked during a shower) it is nice to have room, both in the bathroom & the gray tank, for an on board shower. I rarely used the shower in the 17, but the 21 works well.

Dinner was a Bistro Spinach Dijon salad. I usually purchase single serving salads since I don't usually eat one made with individual vegetables before the grow too old. I don't remember if this one came from Walmart or Krogers, but it was excellent.

Until tomorrow -

Friday, March 2, 2018

Day 210, Friday, March 2, 2018 - Joe Pool Lake Campground, Grand Prairie, TX, Day 2

Friday, March 2, 2018 - Joe Pool Lake Campground, Grand Prairie, TX, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 5,581.8 Towing Miles For the Trip

A quiet day. I changed the sheets (always a project in a small trailer) and moved outside to sit in the sun once it warmed up during the afternoon. Just after my 3:00 eye drops, I headed for the showers. I have to say the showers in bathroom #8 (the one across from my trailer) are by far the most useless of the trip. Two showers, both push button. The clean one (I discovered why) doesn't run at all. The other one with lumps of soap all over the floor shoots out a thin single stream of water. Two hooks on the wall, but useless since the spray bounces water onto anything hung on them. The side walls are too high to drape things on, no bench or shelf inside or outside the shower stall.

I decided to stand to the side of the stream & push the button a couple of times to let it warm up. Warm up it did. The water was so hot that it burned my ankles. The further up the stream, the hotter! I backed out & headed back to the trailer where I will be taking my shower, probably tomorrow.

That was about it for the day.

Dinner was the left over chicken breast. I was going to make some "from scratch" empanadas using it and a left over refrigerator pie crust and a recipe from, of all places, Walmart, but got lazy and just ate it cold, along with some cottage cheese & a container of refrigerator sliced peaches.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Day 209, Thursday, March 1, 2018 - Joe Pool Lake Campground, Grand Prairie, TX

Site 149
Thursday, March 1, 2018 - Joe Pool Lake Campground, Grand Prairie, TX - 247.6 Miles, 5,581.8 Towing Miles For the Trip

While the road noise was loud, it calmed down around 11:00PM. To the road & airplane noise, add trains. Not too bad except for one at around 4:00AM that decided to make lots of horn noise. Again, a usable overnight if you can deal with the noise.

I got an early start & hit the road by 8:45. I have to say while Texas is famous for oil, they have one of the largest wind fields I've ever seen along US 84. Hundreds of large multi megawatt windmills, although an entire field was feathered. Don't know if there was a problem or they were new, but with the heavy winds, it was a waste. Speaking of heavy winds, this was the first time I had to drive with both hands on the wheel to make up for the side gusts. The weather reports called for 40MPH winds, and I believe it! Things settled down when I hit I 20.

Other than the wind, a boring drive, mostly on I 20. It did get exciting when I got within 3 miles of Joe Pile Lake. Seems they are building new multi lane roads to service the large number of developments in the area northwest of the campground. My GPS was useless, and I probably annoyed a number of Texas locals wandering from lane to lane trying to find a way into the campground. The final blow was once I got through the new road mess, Matilda (the voice of my GPS) told me to turn into a dead end road 1/4 mile before the real park entrance.

I decided I'm far enough along on the drive to the Gunther Hill campground (home of the Green Eggs & Ham Rally I have reservations for starting on the 12th) that I can take a break from daily 200 mile drives to relax for the weekend. According to Matilda, I'm 794.1 miles from Gunther Hill. So, I booked my site until Sunday. Three days for $60.00. The site (149) is a back in across from the bathrooms with room for both the trailer & truck. Level side to side, but needing to unhook to level front to back, although if I didn't plan on a trip to a grocery store, I could have just used the tongue jack to level the trailer with the truck still attached. A water & electric site for $20.00 per night. Good AT&T & Verizon coverage, even without the amplifier, and there is even a NPR radio station that does a mix of news & classical music.

The bathrooms may not be appreciated by the women (or, at times, men). Stainless steel toilets with no toilet seats. Can you say COLD when sitting? Other than that, typical bathrooms for county parks. Push button showers with a couple of hooks in the drying area, but no benches or shelves. I'll let you know if the water gets hot enough. The entrance station attendant did mention to push the shower button a number of times before you get hot water.

I made a run to a Kroger's that was, according to my GPS, 4 miles from the campground. Again, I ran into the new road construction, but eventually found the grocery store & the way back to the campground. The Krogers wins points for having both Jif cashew & almond butter, the first place I've found them in months. They even had Kendall-Jackson's Pinot Noir, a wine I liked better than some of the other Pinot Noir's I've tried. I bought a couple of bottles to take along. Of course, you probably shouldn't use my judgment for making a choice - I've never been considered a wine master!

I picked up some fried chicken legs & thighs at Kroger's for dinner. I should say I TRIED to pick up legs & thighs - like many other deli sections of grocery stores, they seem to have a problem telling thighs from breasts. So, on the one hand, I saved money getting breasts at thigh prices, but on the other hand, since I prefer thighs, I lost. At least they were greasy enough that they didn't seem too dry (a sad comment to make).

Back at the trailer I ate the chicken & a small tub of mac & cheese for dinner, with fresh strawberries for dessert. Still nothing like Oswego strawberries, but OK for store bought.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Day 208, Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - Beacon Lodge & Motel, Snyder, TX

Site 3
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - Beacon Lodge & Motel, Snyder, TX - 203.9 Miles, 5,334.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

On the way out of town I stopped to refill a tank of propane. About all that happened for the day was another 200 miles east on US 180. I crossed into Central Time somewhere along the way. Since I'm trying to do at least 200 miles per day (a bit over my preferred 150) I planned a stop in Snyder, TX at the Beacon Motel. They have a campground next to the motel that has electric & sewer sites. I'm in site 3, for $23.00 per night. Good AT&T & Verizon data coverage, but no bathrooms or showers, and a bit of road & airport noise. OK for an overnight, but not a place I'd stay for a week. I just had some neighbors with 3 kids pull in next door towing a large 5th wheel. Other than that, we are the only ones in the campground (and most of the motel, as well). After watching them hook up, I found the water connection for my site. Not easy to access, so I didn't bother hooking it up.

I have "Informed Delivery" through the US post office. For those not familiar with the service, the post office takes the photos their mail sorters use & emails them to you each morning, letting you know what will appear in your mailbox later in the day. Very handy when you are traveling to see what arrived in your mailbox. So, I got an envelope from my health insurance prescription plan stating "Important Notice". Since it it a bit difficult to open an envelope over the internet, I called the insurance to ask what was in the letter. Of course they had no idea. I do know that my current home town pharmacy is a Rite Aid that was purchased by Walgreens, but according to the insurance phone assistant, that isn't anything they would mail about. So, the next time I need renewals, I head to a Rite Aid, or maybe a Walgreens, try to find out whether the Oswego, NY or Blythe, CA Rite Aid (the last place I filled my prescriptions) has my refills, or did they move to Walgreens, and discover which of my prescriptions, if any, the "Important Notice" was about. Ah, the joys of long term traveling!

Dinner was a microwaved Amy's Thai Pan Thai dinner, along with a little cottage cheese. I just watched a Domino's Pizza delivery vehicle pull into the motel. Wish I had thought of that before cooking the Thai Pan Thai dinner. While I really like the Amy's version of the meal, a pizza would have been nice!

By the way, for the first time in a long time, it is raining!

Until tomorrow -

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Day 207, Tuesday, February 27, 2018 -Carlsbad RV Park, Carlsbad, NM

Site C1
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 -Carlsbad RV Park, Carlsbad, NM, 215.3 Miles, 5,130.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

I added a picture of Sarah & me that she took when we met to yesterday's post.

I made a quick trip to the bathrooms at Leasburg Dam this morning and discovered the showers. I was pretty sure I had a shower there the last time I visited, but that was 2 years ago, so I thought I was wrong. Nope, they are behind a door that says "Not an Exit". The word "Showers" was so faded and missing letters that I didn't notice it. Oh well, the showers here at Carlsbad RV Park are much warmer, although they lose points for not having a bench of shelf for your stuff in the drying area. The campground is a former KOA with the usual layout, but no Country music in the bathrooms.

Most of the drive was on US 180 through New Mexico & Texas. I passed Carlsbad Caverns National Park; I been twice & skipped it this time. I did make a short, road side stop to photograph the Guadalupe Mountain, but without going into the park, a lousy photograph. As you can see by both photographs, a dreary, cloudy day. While listening to KJZZ in Phoenix, I found it is raining there, so it could be worse.

I'm in site C1, a full hookup site for $43.06 with a Good Sam discount. It is too short to leave the trailer hooked up. There is cable, and WiFi. Both Verizon & AT&T have a signal at the campground, but both are pretty slow, particularly Verizon. Neither will stream audio reliably, and took minutes to upload today's images. I didn't try the campground WiFi.

They had a bunch of empty, inexpensive machines at the campground laundromat, so even though I didn't have a full bag, I did two loads.

Dinner was a couple of Chicken Empanadas, and the rest of the asparagus.

Until tomorrow -

Monday, February 26, 2018

Day 206, Monday, February 26, 2018 - Leasburg Dam State Park, Radium Springs, NM

Sunset at City of Rocks
Monday, February 26, 2018 - Leasburg Dam State Park, Radium Springs, NM, 110.6 Miles, 4,915 Towing Miles For the Trip

I took a few sunset photos at City of Rocks. Great color on the rocks, although finding ones that don't have the sun blocked by other rocks can be a challenge. By the way, it sure cooled off last night - 23°F overnight. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I stopped at the post office in Deming to mail an oversized birthday card. Deming has some strange traffic routes. Lots of divided streets, and some that look to be a street, but are actually I 10 interstate ramps. Eventually, I found my way to a gas station, Tractor Supply, and another visit to Walmart.

I arrived at Leasburg Dam around 2:00. A water & electric site for $18.00, with $4.00 a reservation fee. It looks like there is a sewer hookup, but the site is labeled as water & electric & it is too far away to be usable. Very tight site that required some creative truck parking to leave the trailer hooked up. Nice & warm, with predictions of 37°F tonight.

There was a new Escape 5.0TA parked in the site across from me. A fellow Escape Forum poster that I've communicated with, but never met; Sarah, Dexter the Dachshund, and Wild Thing, the 5th wheel. She keeps an interesting daily blog at Lots of photos & descriptions of her travels. It is always nice to meet people that populate the various forums.

I was planning to take a shower here, but it seems there aren't any in the bathrooms. Since tomorrow's expected stop is a full service commercial campground, I will probably wait.

For those the like period mysteries (this covers mid 19th century London) Granger's "Inspector Ben Ross" series is well worth a read. I enjoyed A Better Quality of Murder, and will look for more of her books.

Dinner was a Bubba Burger, Bush Beans, and asparagus.

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Day 205, Sunday, February 25, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, NM, Day 4

Sunday, February 25, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, NM, Day 4, 0 Miles, 4,804.4 Towing Miles For the Trip

The 4th day without a phone. I really have to pick up a Verizon phone to go along with my AT&T for places like here where there is no AT&T coverage.

Another cool night, down to 32°F. It did warm up to 60°F during the day. Even though it is in the 60's, I'm freezing. 67°F in the trailer, warmer than I keep the thermostat at home, but I'm wearing long johns under my jeans, a quilted flannel shirt & sweatshirt. Hope I'm not coming down with something...

Lots of RVs moving into the campground today, including a bunch of large Class A's. Not sure where they went, since many of the sites are small. They must have found a home since none of them came back out! I did discover one thing about site 2. It seems to be a popular path for those heading for a walk among the rocks. Lots of foot traffic through my site just a couple of feet from my trailer. So far no one has cupped their hands to stared into the windows! While they are tinted, at night they are pretty much transparent from the outside.

I did lots of reading, both on the computer, and a real book - Sharon Shinn's Heart of Gold, an interesting SiFi that explores race relations. I finished that and started Ann Granger's A Better Quality of Murder, a Inspector Ben Ross mystery. I haven't read her before, something I picked up at the bookshelf at the campground office. I've mentioned it before, but campground libraries are great, no cost places to discover new authors.

Other than that, not much going on. Dinner was a salad.

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Day 204, Saturday, February 24, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, NM, Day 3

Saturday, February 24, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, NM, Day 3, 0 Miles, 4,804.4 Towing Miles For the Trip

A bit cooler last night, down to 32°F. Still a toasty 60°F in the trailer, with the furnace running at about 20% of the time. Didn't do much today. I took a short walk around the campground, met a Scamp owner who tows with a 2017 Tacoma Off Road & felt it was under powered. He sure wouldn't be happy towing the 2000 pound heavier 21!

The big event for the day was firing up the water heater to do dishes. When I don't have hookups, I tend to collect dirty dishes for a day or two before making hot water. Seems a waste to heat up a tank every day.

I did quite a bit of reading; just finished John Sandford's Deep Freeze using the Kindle. I'm slowly accepting the Kindle as a "book". Still prefer paper, but I have to admit it is easier to hold the Kindle while lying down in bed than a large paperback or hard cover book.

I had an early dinner microwaving one of my frozen chicken stews. As usual, better with age. This one was particularly good - I should have kept track of what I put in it so I could make it again, but I didn't.

Until tomorrow -

Friday, February 23, 2018

Day 203, Friday, February 23, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, NM, Day 2

Some of the Rocks
Friday, February 23, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 4,804.4 Towing Miles For the Trip

A lazy day, although I did walk the loop road around the campground (about 2 miles), taking a few photos of the rocks & campsites. Everything from tents through teardrops to large diesel class A's spread throughout the rocks. Even the group site has RVs in it. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

The staff did some wheel rut repairs to the road leading to my site. There must have been some wet weather last week - there are still a few puddles, and who ever was in my site previously made some deep ruts getting out. While the road into the site looks like hard packed sand, it can turn to mud with a little water.

The park is about 3/4 full, again, with all the hook up sites taken. By the way, there is no AT&T coverage here in the park, even with an amplifier & outside high gain antenna. On the other hand, Verizon has a strong, fast signal, even without an amp. Some FM stations, although no NPR or classical stations that are listen-able.

I did head for the showers after my 3:00 eye drops. I forgot how soft the water is here - you spend more time rinsing than washing. Push button, non temperature adjustable high pressure, low volume shower head, no bench or place to put things other than 4 hooks on the wall. There is a shower curtain & Dri-Dek type mats in the drying area so your feet stay dry. Very little heat & it was around 60°F, a bit cool for drying! By the way, it never got to the predicted 23°F last night, only down to 35°F. I did leave the cabinet doors open that had plumbing behind them, and ran the furnace at 60°F to make sure things didn't freeze; probably not necessary.

I was hoping to do some star photos last night since City of Rocks is far enough from city lights that the night skies are fairly pure. (There is enough "dark" that the campsites are named after constellations). While it was nice & clear, there was too much moon for photos.

Dinner was a couple of chicken patty sandwiches & a bit of cottage cheese.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Day 202, Thursday, February 22, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, NM

Site 2, City of Rocks State Park, NM
Thursday, February 22, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, NM, 290.5 Miles, 4,804.4 Towing Miles For the Trip

Another early morning. Since I was planning to drive all the way to City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico, over a 5 hour drive, I wanted to leave early. I hit the road by 8:15. A boring drive, mostly along I 10, although a bit busy going through Tucson. Gas is quite a bit cheaper in New Mexico, so, of course, I filled up just before crossing the border at $2.56. Oh well, at least I can fill up again in Deming at $2.11 per gallon.

I stopped at the Deming Walmart to buy a birthday card, and some supplies - I was out of milk, but needed other stuff. I've had a craving for pizza, so I bought a frozen one. While it wouldn't fit in the freezer, the fridge was at 36°F, and the City of Rocks State Park is only 30 miles north of Deming. I'm in site #2 since someone is already in my favorite site (#1). Both are within walking distance of the showers. I did make a loop through the water & electric sites to see if any of the first come were available, but all of them, as well as the reservable sites, were full. Since the prediction is for 23°F tonight & 29°F tomorrow night (City of Rocks is at 5000'), it would have saved a bunch of propane to have an electric hookup. Still, I prefer the dry sites since they are among the rocks, and the sites with hookups is basically a parking lot.

After setting up the trailer, I tossed the pizza in the oven. I should have kept an eye on it; whether it was the oven (it was the first frozen pizza I've cooked in it) or the fact that it was partially thawed, the bottom ended up a bit burned. In any case, it satisfied my pizza cravings.

I walked around the lower part of the campground and took a few photos. I'm also including a couple from last night at Picacho Peak taken during sunset.

Dinner was the pizza.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Day 201, Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - Picacho Peak State Park, AZ

Overflow Site #1
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - Picacho Peak State Park, AZ, 88.6 Miles, 4,513.93 Towing Miles For the Trip

I made bacon & eggs for breakfast, then read forums, journals, etc. Around 12:45 I headed to the entrance station to see if I could stay another night in the emergency use site 91. The volunteer said that if they didn't need it by 1:00, I could stay, but the ranger stated that they could only tell me at 1:00 that I'd have to go, but not that I could stay. I asked her when I'd know if I could stay & she said it depended on how long it took to fix an electrical problem at one of the sites. Since I didn't want to hang around all afternoon, not knowing if I could stay the night, I packed up & headed out around 1:30.

A short drive to Picacho Peak State Park. As I suspected, the campsites were all filled, however they have a camping overflow area. They are pull through, dry sites with a fire ring & picnic table, for $15.00. Not quite level enough to leave the truck hooked up. The bathrooms & showers are not quite walkable from site 1, although there are pit toilets next door.

After my 3:00 eye drops, I drove to the bathrooms for a shower (and again, cheated & used my own shower head - shh, don't tell anyone), and after returning to the trailer, met & talked with an Escape 17B owner that has one of the standard sites. None have water, just electric, so I'm not missing much here in the overflow. Even the overflow area is filling up. There are around 8 paved sites, and over half are filled, the one across from me with a tent.

Since I lucked yesterday & found a Walmart that had Empanadas (and bought the two boxes they had), that is what I'm having for dinner.

Until tomorrow -

Day 200, Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Lost Dutchman State Park, Apache Junction, AZ

A Night Time Panorama
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Lost Dutchman State Park, Apache Junction, AZ, 168 Miles,4,425.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

I got a early (for me) start & left Quartzsite around 9:00. The original plan was to head for Picacho Peak State Park, but along the way I changed my mind and headed for Apache Junction & the Lost Dutchman State Park. I thought both parks would have plenty of open sites since it is the middle of the week, but I'm in a emergency fill site (#91) which I will have to leave tomorrow if anything goes wrong with any of the other electric sites or reservations if the problem happens before 1:00. If I get thrown out, I'll head to Picacho Peak, even though there are only 3 sites left there. There is a commercial park near by that I can try if the state park is full.

My site here (again, #91) is right under the Superstition Mountains, with a great view out the kitchen & dining area windows. $30.00 per night for water & electric, something I haven't had since Agua Caliente on February 1st. Since it is getting cold (34°F last night at Quartzsite), it will be nice to have the electric heater.

I walked around the campground, found the showers (a long walk away from the site), checked out the coyote sundial (it was off by about an hour) and did some reading, recharging of batteries & other electronics, and relaxed. I'm hoping for a clear evening to do a star circle around the mountains that I'll add later or tomorrow morning.

Well, I did one, and started another at 9:00. The moon provided the light on the mountain, but it isn't a circular star circle (only streaks) because the mountains are not to the North. It is already down to 45°F, so the camera battery doesn't last all that well on long exposures.  The photos are at today's LakeshoreImages post.

Since I had a large turkey sandwich for lunch, dinner was just a salad.

Until tomorrow -

Monday, February 19, 2018

Day 199, Monday, February 19, 2018 - La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ

Back At La Posa West for the Night
Monday, February 19, 2018 - La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, 80 Miles, 4,257.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

Last night's fireworks were excellent. Again I took far too many pictures, and them proceded to post far too many as well. If anyone wants to see what individual shells are available, I have the place! Again, we called it quits a little after 9:00, and they continued the fireworks until 10:30. Sure did shake the trailer! I did update yesterday's page with a couple of photos, and the link to the last set of fireworks pages.

Since I did most of my packing yesterday, it was a quick "getting ready for the road" this morning. Glad I did alot yesterday - it was cold this morning. Lots of wind and 51°F.

I stopped at the Parker Walmart for water & a couple other things, then drove across the street to Safeway for a 12 pack of Big Wave Golden Amber beer. Since I probably won't find it in the East, I'm bringing some with me.

I filled an empty propane tank at the hardware store, then drove to the Main Street Laundromat, hoping I could fit both the truck & trailer in their parking lot so I could do laundry without unhooking. While it was crowded, I did find a way.

After doing laundry, I pulled into La Posa West for the night. I'm in just about the area I was in for most of the winter, however I did jocky around until I found an area where the trailer was level without unhooking.

After making the bed, I edited last night's fireworks photographs and added them to the Link to Four Days of Fireworks.

Dinner will be a Chicken Mushroom Pot Pie that is currently in the oven.

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Day 198, Sunday, February 18, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 7

Fireworks, Day 3
Sunday, February 18, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 7, 0 Miles, 4,177.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

We (Dan & Chris, the owners of the Bigfoot parked next to me) went to the Sea Scout's Pancake breakfast. Juice, coffee, sausage and, of course, pancakes for $5.00. A lot easier than making them yourself. Just in case you looked at yesterday's page before I added the link to last night's fireworks, here is the link to the updated fireworks page.

Again, many are single bursts rather than a large show display, although there were plenty of them as well. There were long breaks between displays, long enough that many left before the show was over. I left around 9:40, and there was at least one batch of large displays after I hit the trailer.

After breakfast, I processed last night's photos, and uploaded the pages. I really have to get control of the size of my site - it is currently 6.63GB and 62,067 files. The files are a bit exaggerated since some pages uses the Lightroom Web page generator, which makes many small files, but the total size is accurate.

A few RVs pulled out today, but most stayed until tomorrow. There is no difference in the price, so unless you need to be somewhere else for the President's holiday, you might as well stay. I'll be heading back to Quartzsite tomorrow to do laundry, fill a propane tank, etc, then start the trek East.

I'm going to have to check the schedule for the 2019 Quartzsite Fiberglass Rally, hoping that this program is still the week after. As long as we sign up for next year in the next couple of months, we can get the same site, with the option of moving to another with a better view if the people in them don't sign up. A site in the AA row would be nice since you would be able to watch the fireworks out the trailer's back window, but G2 (the one I'm in) is a short walk to the viewing area at the front of the upper deck.

I spent the rest of the day sitting outside reading.

Dinner was a barbecued chicken sandwich supplied by the park.

Again, I'll probably have to add tonight's photos tomorrow if the show gets over too late.

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Day 197, Saturday, February 17, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 6

Saturday, February 17, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 6, 0 Miles, 4,177.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

This is going to be a quick post since it is pretty late. I've been taking more fireworks photos & I'm ready to call it a day, even though they are still firing them. Since I took over 400 images, it is time to stop. I'm sure there are quite few rejects, but now I'm just listening to them. This is one of the times I do wish I had a front window on the 21 since it is aimed at the fireworks. I'll process and add tonight's fireworks tomorrow.

Other than putting together a page that links to all the different fireworks nights for this show, and a much belated page for the Oswego Harborfest fireworks, I didn't do much else.

Dinner was barbecued chicken supplied by the park.

Until tomorrow -

Friday, February 16, 2018

Day 196, Friday, February 16, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 5

An Air Burst

Friday, February 16, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 5, 0 Miles, 4,177.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

After posting yesterday's journal, I hauled my camera & tripod to the level above the parking lot my trailer is in & found a spot on the front edge that had a pretty good view of the fireworks area. They started firing off shells well before dark. I took some photos with my 70 - 200 mm lens, but would have preferred the 24-70mm for some of the images. I'll try that tonight. Actually, a 50 - 150mm lens would probably be the best from the position I was at, but I don't have such. We will see if the 24-70mm will do.

Last night was mostly individual bursts with a few multiple displays. Here is a link to some of the images. I'm using Adobe Dreamweaver's built in web page generator for the fireworks pages. I don't like it for my general posts since it doesn't lend it self to text all that well, and it is a "pig" as far as the size of the files it generates, but it is faster to put together a page with a batch of photos, and easier to browse through since you can go directly between the higher resolution images, or use the index page to get to an individual image. Since I have little experience with cascading style sheets, I do wish someone would make a template that has the ability to add text windows.

I'll add more as the day goes on, but will probably be a day behind with the photos since they generally start after dark.

Well, it is now after dinner, and I did shoot the fireworks tonight, and processed them after I got back. I quit at 9:00, but they are still going on. Here is a link to tonight's images.

Dinner will be chicken tacos at the rodeo grounds dinner.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Day 195, Thursday, February 15, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 4

Thursday, February 15, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 4, 0 Miles, 4,177.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

Another day without photographs. Until they start the fireworks, there really isn't all that much to take photos of. It looks like there is a RC flying area in the park since I've seem a couple of stunt planes flying each day, but they are far enough away that they are not worth photographing.

Another relaxing day. The sun came out, so the solar fully recharged the batteries even though I microwaved breakfast & made a pot of drip coffee. I lent out my portable solar panel to the Bigfoot next door since it looked like his solar panel wasn't working. He went to Quartzsite for a new controller, and while my panel charged his trailer a bit while he was gone, my controller doesn't seem to be working right. Since I don't use it when connecting the panel to my trailer, I have never noticed the problem. I'll probably order a new controller since I like to have the portable panel available to operate with or without a controller.

After my 3:00 eye drops, I started a chicken stew/soup. Hard to decide which it is, but I make it with lots of vegetables, potatoes, canned beans, chicken thighs, & chicken stock. I make enough for one meal plus 2 for the freezer.

Other than that, I spent the day sitting outside reading.

Dinner was chicken stew!

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Day 194, Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 3

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 3, 0 Miles, 4,177.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

Happy Valentine's Day! Another quiet, cloudy and cool day at Lake Havasu City. A few more RVs arrived, but so far I still have a pretty good view of the Rodeo grounds from my trailer. There are two empty sites between me & the fireworks. As long as low trailers move in, I'm OK.

I spent most of the day sitting inside. I did get out when there was a bit of sun, but it is still fairly cool for outdoor reading. I'm currently reading Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth. A departure from his usual spy novels, but well written and a good read.

If it warms up, I'll head for the showers this afternoon, but if not, it can wait another day. Dinner will be a couple of chicken tacos.

Until tomorrow -

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Day 193, Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 2

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day 2, 0 Miles, 4,177.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

I slept in this morning, but was done with breakfast by 10:00. I walked around the camping area looking for a dumpster for my trash. Found one behind one of the buildings; not sure it was for us, but used it anyway. More RVs arrived today, including a Bigfoot next door that came from the Quartzsite rally. Evidently, there is a "Boomer" group that is camping in many of the spaces in our area. The first to arrive was a bit worried that he was in the wrong place, but now that there are more of them everyone is happy!

I spent the day reading & moving inside & outside the trailer. While the wind died down, there were heavy clouds most of the day. When the sun broke through, it was outside in the chair, enjoying it, then when the clouds hid the sun it cooled off enough to chase me back in. Around 3:30 I headed to Safeway for some supplies.

There was enough sun while I was gone to bring the batteries back to full from their morning low of -31.5 amp hours, even with the panels flat on the roof. To make sure I found my way back to the site (lots of internal turns through parking lots, etc) I "saved" the location of my site using the GPS. While there are paved roads in much of the SARA Rodeo area, on the way back from town, Matilda, my GPS wanted me to turn directly from AZ 95 overland to get to the site. Even after I drove on the paved roads in the park, it wanted me to go back out to AZ 95 and head overland. With my lousy sense of direction, I'm lucky I found my site!

Dinner was baked chicken & deviled egg potato salad form Safeway.

Until tomorrow -

Monday, February 12, 2018

Day 192, Monday, February 12, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ

Site G2
Monday, February 12, 2018 - SARA Park Rodeo Grounds, Lake Havasu City, AZ, 80 Miles, 4,177.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

Not much in the way of sun today. Cool & cloudy at both Quartzsite & Lake Havasu City. It is also very windy here at the rodeo grounds. Since it is all on "dirt" (actually, fine sand) everything feels gritty. They didn't open the gate until 12:00, and there were a bunch of us waiting to get in. Once they started, registration went smoothly & quickly, with a guide to the campsite.

I'm in site G2, a piece of the parking lot that has been taped off to designate sites. Dry camping for $21.43 per night, although there are somewhat nearby bathrooms & showers next to the grandstand. A couple more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I don't know if the fireworks will be visible from the campsite or whether I'll have to walk over to the grandstand. It isn't all that far away, but setting up a tripod would be difficult in the stands. So far, the area between my trailer & the grandstand is clear, but since the campground is sold out, I suspect it will fill. The fireworks don't start until the middle of the week.

After setting up, I wandered around to find where things are located. I haven't found the the barbecue locations, but I have until Friday to find it.

The rest of the afternoon was spent reading web pages, journals & forums. There is both Verizon 4G LTE at -99 dBm & AT&T LTE at -92dBm coverage, both slower than they were at Quartzsite.

It is too windy to cook outside, so I reheated one of the frozen chicken stews out of the freezer. Since the trailer is in the wrong direction for tilting the rooftop solar panels, I am going to try to conserve electricity & not use the microwave when the stove will do.

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Day 191, Sunday, February 11, 2018 - Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 10

Castle Dome City Ghost Town
Sunday, February 11, 2018 - Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 10, 0 Miles, 4097.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

Lots of good byes as people left for home today. Lots of wind last night. This morning I spent some time picking up trash that had blown all over the area, part of which consisted of many pages of Butterfield 8, one of the books that was on my "free" table. At least the table is still there! I made a run to the LTVA dumpsters with my trash, then packed up some of the stuff I had spread around that I wouldn't be using today. I'll fold down the solar panels and fold up the ground cloth as soon as I finish posting today's page.

After breakfast, I headed to the Castle Dome City Ghost Town & Museum. It is about 63 miles from Dome Rock, most on paved roads, although the last 8 miles is good gravel. I took lots of photos, but rather than duplicating all of them here, I'll just link to the page.

So, this will be the last Quartzsite post. Tomorrow it is Lake Havasu City & hopefully, some fireworks!

Dinner was a salad & a turkey sandwich.

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Day 190, Saturday, February 10, 2018 - Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 9

Sunset Over the Dessert Pot Luck
Saturday, February 10, 2018 - Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 9, 0 Miles, 4097.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

A quiet day at Dome Rock. I was up early to put some stuff out for the swap meet. Sold a couple of radios, but the more expensive stuff didn't move. At least someone picked up the entire box of books, so I don't have to take them to one of the dealers in town tomorrow.

I baked the second blueberry pie this morning. It came out a bit better looking than last night's - I'm getting used to how much over the marked setting you have to dial in the oven thermostat, so I'm hitting the right temperatures.

We had the ladderball competition during the afternoon. Since my team came in second the only time I played, I don't want to ruin the streak by playing again; I just take photos, many more of which are at today's LakeshoreImages page as well as the last page of the Rally photos.

After the ladderball prizes were awarded, it was soup time. Everyone brings a can of non cream soup, and they make three large pots; Chicken, Beef, & Mystery. One would thing mixing all the different kinds together wouldn't work, but it does - I had the chicken & it was great.

A couple of us went to try to diagnose a water heater problem, but didn't come up with a good solution, then back to the trailer for a bit of reading.

The dessert pot luck started exactly at 5:30 - there was a line & a countdown. My blueberry pies went over OK, and there was plenty of everything (except blueberry pie). I did get the dregs of one pie pan - a 1" square of crust with one blueberry on it. Next year I'm still going to make two for the start, but keep another one behind for me & the others further back in the line. While I enjoy taking photos, by the time I finish taking the start of the "feast", I end up at the back of the line.

There was a great sunset to finish off the evening. More at the last page of the Rally photos.

Dinner was dessert!

Until tomorrow -

Friday, February 9, 2018

Day 189, Friday, February 9, 2018 - Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 8

The Lagun Table Mount
Friday, February 9, 2018 - Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 8, 0 Miles, 4097.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

Another day of hanging around Dome Rock. I did get a chance to see a couple of Escape 21's that installed a Lagun brand table mount. It is very practical - easy to remove both the table & the support, and it swivels so the table can be positioned just about anywhere. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages.

I didn't do a count of trailers today, but there were not as many arrivals as yesterday. Still, I suspect we are well over 160 trailers. I did add a few photos to page 2 of the rally pages.

I did a bit of work on a broken awning (not mine) then headed to Sweet Darlene's for the Friday Fish Dinner. Excellent, as usual.

The next project is to make & bake the first blueberry pie.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Day 188, Thursday, February 8, 2018 - Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 7

Dancing Dog
Wednesday, February 8, 2018 - Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 7, 0 Miles, 4097.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

After breakfast I made a loop of the campground, then "helped" with a refrigerator problem that didn't get solved, then headed to Parker for blueberry pie supplies. I had to hit both Walmart & Safeway to find everything, and neither had my favorite wild blueberries, but I made do.

Bach at the campground I tried to do a count of trailers, and came up with 149. Since some have been & gone, and more will probably arrive tomorrow, it looks like a good year. There are little white trailers all over the place!

We made a video for Phil & Katherine, a couple that couldn't be here because of illness. If I find the YouTube link, I'll add it. The new photos have been added at the 11th Annual Quartzsite Gathering, Page 2.

A few more photos of the 5:00 happy hour, then I headed in to post the pages & make dinner, which was a salad & a Amy's Bean & Cheese Burrito.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Day 187, Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 6

Around the Campground
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 6, 0 Miles, 4097.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

I made a couple of loops around the campground, then packed up the laundry & headed to the Main Street Laundromat to wash clothes & take a full size shower. The big news for the laundromat is blue towels. Now that isn't really all the earth shattering, but they have had brown towels for the last three years, so it is news.

Back at the trailer I fought with the bed (and won) then sat out & read for a bit. I have a "Take or Trade" table I set up for books, but it has also been used to let others get rid of stuff. My plan was to get rid of the already read books, but people keep dropping off ones that I haven't read, so I'm gaining, rather than getting rid of stuff.

I started a second page for the rally photos since the first was getting a bit large.

Five of us went for an early dinner at the Mountain Quail. Wednesday is their Country Fried Chicken special, a huge chicken breast cooked the same way country fried steak is cooked. Excellent, and much approved by all. Now none of us can move, and probably won't need breakfast tomorrow.

Until tomorrow -